The state has removed navigational buoys in the Barnegat Bay’s Double Creek Inlet Channel due to severe post-Superstorm Sandy shoaling that has created a significant hazard, according to a release from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
With the closure, boaters are advised to use the Federal Oyster Creek Channel, denoted by buoy markers #35 and #40, as the primary entrance into the Barnegat Bay, the release said. The Double Creek Inlet Channel remains marked from the inlet side to the fishing grounds (old buoy set 15 and 16), where boaters are still permitted.
But mariners should be aware that shifting sediment is impacting the entire bay, according to the release, and may reference U.S. Coast Pilot #3 for additional information regarding the shifting sediments in the area.
Shoals are is defined as a “characteristically long and narrow (linear) and develop where a stream, river, or ocean current promotes deposition of sediment and granular material, resulting in localized shallowing (shoaling) of the water,” according to Wikipedia.
In March, the NJDOT announced the commencement of the multi-year, multi-million dollar State Channel Dredging Program that will return New Jersey’s waterways affected by Superstorm Sandy to a state of good repair.
During the planning and engineering process for the expected dredging of the Double Creek Channel later this year, the NJDOT Office of Maritime Resources found that extreme siltation and shifting sediments were severely affecting management efforts in the inlet area, the release said.
Accordingly, state and federal agencies are working to determine where priority dredging can occur as soon as possible, according to the release. Dredge material placement in the area is restricted to protect important bird nesting habitats. The priority dredging work is expected to be done in phases.
To address post-Sandy dredging needs, the state is working with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Engineer Research and Development Center to coordinate inlet management and determine a best channel and dredged material management strategy, the release said. The Richard Stockton College Coastal Research Center will provide expert guidance and monitoring of sand shifting in the inlet area.