|Ocracoke Inlet as of 2009, showing significant shoaling, along with both ebb and flood tide deltas.|
With growing year-round populations on the banks, and more prosperous cities along the sounds of the inner-banks, dredging and inlet stabilization will continue well into the future. However, those in charge of dredging at the Army Corps of Engineers and the North Carolina Department of Transportation must become aware of the natural processes they are interfering with. Constant dredging disrupts natural sand transport which helps to develop flood tide deltas on the sound side of the island, which actually helps increase barrier island width. So instead of viewing the inlets through a stirctly anthropogenic lens, and thinking about what we need to do to keep them in order, perhaps we as humans should look at them through a lens which helps us to realize what the inlet is doing to keep us in order.
"Man is the barrier islands greatest enemy, not the sea"- Paul Godfrey, Ph.D
Link to the recent article concerning the dredging of Hatteras Inlet- https://apps.ncdot.gov/newsreleases/details.aspx?r=7540