NEW YORK - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hopper Dredge Currituck based in Wilmington, N.C., has begun maintenance dredging work in the Shrewsbury River federal navigation channel to remove critical shoals in the Shrewsbury entrance channel and in the vicinity of Oceanic Bridge on the Navesink River.

The dredge will remove approximately 34,000 cubic yards of sand from the federal navigation channel. The sand will be placed along the Atlantic coast of Sandy Hook, N.J., in the nearshore in approximately 12-15 feet of water. Removal of the most critical shoals will restore a degree of navigational safety to the SeaStreak ferry service and many regional boaters and fishermen.

Dredge Currituck performed the last maintenance dredging in the channel in fall 2010, removing 28,000 cubic yards of material. This cycle of maintenance dredging is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Dredge Currituck is assigned to the Corps' Wilmington District in North Carolina. The self-propelled split-hull hopper dredge is usually in high demand, travelling up and down the eastern United States performing dredging operations at, in addition to Shrewsbury River, places like Shark River and Barnegat Inlet in New Jersey and at various coastal inlets along the Virginia coast. It has a hopper bin capacity of approximately 300 cubic yards. The vessel uses vacuum arms and drag heads on each side of the dredge that, once lowered onto the sediment surface, suction fill into the dredge's hopper bin. The vessel then moves to where the sand is to be deposited and opens its hull like a clamshell, allowing the sand to fall into place.