Coastal Engineering Project

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Oyster Creek Boating Access, North of Davos Ferry Landing (Before)

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Oyster Creek Boating Access

Motorists on U.S. 70 in eastern Carteret County see a lot of pretty scenery on their drive. The highway crosses miles of canals and marshes at the edge of Core Sound and zigzags through the seaside communities of Smyrna, Williston, Davis, and Stacy. The pace of change is slow in this rural Down East setting, so when something new comes along, folks take notice. At Oyster Creek just north of the Davis ferry landing, an eye-catching new facility will receive a lot of attention from locals and visitors alike. Engineers from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission have built a new boating access area where the creek empties into the sound. The construction is more than just a boat ramp: It’s a meticulously planned, carefully executed project designed to provide access to a rich fishing, hunting, and boating area while minimizing impact on wildlife habitat.

Driving by the site, you see a trio of docks, a pair of ramps, access for disabled boaters, and some odd-looking pavement. Closer investigation reveals that the docks are flanked by vinyl breakwaters with slots cut in them, that the weird pavement looks like gray-colored Rice Krispies Treats, and that the shoreline on the sound side is rimmed with a stone sill and marsh grass. Each of these features is designed to aid in protecting the creatures that reside in the highly productive estuary. The state Division of Water Quality classifies Oyster Creek as Outstanding Resource Waters, a designation that applies only to areas with value for habitat, fisheries, and recreation. The estuary with its extensive marshes is home to invertebrates such as fiddler crabs, blue crabs, oysters, scallops, snails, and many other small marine organisms. It is an important nursery area for red drum, speckled trout, spot, and croakers. Wading birds and raccoons love the creek for its bounty of fresh seafood. More than 3,000 swans winter on the creek, and other waterfowl feasts on submerged aquatic vegetation. The creatures that live there most likely would agree that the area has outstanding resources.

The Oyster Creek boating access area is a gateway to saltwater fishing in adjacent Core Sound and on Core Banks, located just 3 miles to the east. Boaters can reach the ocean by traveling 6 miles north to Drum Inlet or 9 miles south to Barden Inlet and the Cape Lookout Bight.

The larger marshes in the area are prime locations for waterfowl hunting.