Brian P. Joyner, Margery F. Overton, John S. Fisher


The behavior of Oregon Inlet, located north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on the Pamlico Sound estuary, and its commercial, ecological, and recreational importance have been the subject of much study and controversy. The construction of a terminal groin on the southern shoulder of the inlet in 1990 served to heighten this interest. Both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) have maintained monitoring programs since that time to study the impact of the terminal groin on the morphology of the inlet and the adjacent shorelines. This paper utilizes data from the USACE and NC DOT programs to examine the relationship between the growth of the Bodie Island spit and the resulting bathymetric changes in the inlet. Data collected are compared with results from the literature. The morphology of Oregon Inlet exhibited changes expected with the stabilization of a single shoulder of a tidal inlet. In contrast, the cross-sectional area of the channel at the minimum inlet width changed little. When analyzed in light of empirical equilibrium conditions reported in the literature, the results supported the conclusion that the inlet had achieved a new equilibrium configuration due to the presence of the terminal groin.


Oregon Inlet; morphology; beach stabilization

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