- Associated Press - Friday, March 10, 2017

BRIGANTINE, N.J. (AP) - Officials have decided to dredge a major New Jersey waterway for the first time.

The state Coastal Engineering Department on Thursday announced dredging of Little Egg Inlet is needed because parts of the channel have sand buildup which makes navigation challenging.

The channel is a major artery between Long Beach Island and Brigantine.

The state plans to remove around 1 million to 1.5 million cubic yards of sand to create a deeper channel. This new channel will be 25 feet below mean sea level. Officials say some parts of the current channel are only 6 feet below mean sea level. Excess sand will be used to replenish nearby beaches.

Authorities say the dredging project will have little to no impact on the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and fish migration.

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