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WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, April 10, 1919.
From: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army.
To: The Secretary of War.
Subject: Preliminary examination of harbor of Silver Lake, N. C.

1. There is submitted herewith for transmission to Congress report dated December 24, 1918, by Mr. Robert C. Merritt, assistant engineer in charge, on preliminary examination authorized by the river and harbor act approved August 8, 1917, of harbor of Silver Lake, Ocracoke Island, and entrance thereto from Pamlico Sound, N. C.

2. Silver Lake is a small body of water, about 25 acres in area, lying within the village of Ocracoke, which is at the westerly end of Ocracoke Island. The population, which amounts to about 700, is largely engaged in the catching of fish and oysters. The lake has an average depth of about 3 feet, and is connected with Pamlico Sound by a channel about 900 feet long and 50 feet wide, having a present controlling depth of 2 feet at mean low water. The ordinary range of tide is 23 feet in the connecting channel and 1 foot in the lake. "The locality is entirely dependent upon water transportation and the lake is the only harbor available. The improvement desired is the deepening of the entrance channel to 5 feet. To furnish protection to boats entering the harbor and to prevent the deterioration of the channel, a training wall on the north side of the outer entrance is considered necessary. The district engineer believes that considerable benefit would be derived from the improvement, and he recommends that a survey be authorized. The division engineer concurs.in this recommendation, but he states that it seems doubtful if the cost will be warranted by the present or prospective commerce.

3. This report has been referred, as required by law, to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and attention is invited to its report herewith, dated March 11, 1919. The board states that this is a very small isolated community, and, owing to the limited extent of the tributary territory, there is little prospect of any material · growth in population or business. Except for a small amount of fish shipped out, the commerce is confined to the domestic needs and will necessarily continue to be small. In the opinion of the board it is not advisable for the United States to undertake the improvement of Silver Lake Harbor and entrance thereto at this time.

4. The river and harbor act of July 25, 1912, authorized a report on this same locality, and as a result of that authorization a survey was made (report printed in H. Doc. No. 984, 63d Cong., 2d sess.). The commerce involved is almost entirely local, and the survey made under the previous authorization developed the fact that the improvement would be quite expensive in comparison with the small amount of commerce. Conditions at the locality have changed little since the survey was made.

5. After the consideration of the above-mentioned reports, I concur in the unfavorable views of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and therefore report that the improvement by the United States of harbor of Silver Lake, Ocracoke Island and entrance thereto from Pamlico Sound, N. C., is not deemed advisable at the present time.

W. M. BLACK, Major General.

REPORT OF THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS.

[Third indorsement. )
BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,

March 11, 1919. To the CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY:

1. The following is in review of the district engineer's report authorized by the river and harbor act of August 8, 1917, on preliminary examination of harbor of Silver Lake, Ocracoke Island, and entrance thereto from Pamlico Sound, N. C.

2. Silver Lake is a small body of water about 25 acres in area, lying within the village of Ocracoke, which has a population of about 700. The average depth in the lake is approximately 3 feet, the bottom being of soft mud. It is connected with Pamlico Sound by a channel 900 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 2 feet deep at mean low water. The ordinary range of tide is 21 feet in the connecting channel and 1 foot in the lake.

3. The commerce during the calendar year 1917, consisting principally of groceries, ice, lumber, wood, fish, and a small quantity of miscellaneous commodities, is reported as amounting to 2,939 tons, valued at $211,837.85. The principal occupation of the community is fishingThere are no manufacturing or wholesale establishments, and conditions in the adjacent territory are not favorable to either agricultural or timber pursuits. The improvement apparently, desired consists of a dredged channel through the entrance 5 feet deep. To protect such a channel against deterioration, a training wall on the north side would be necessary. The locality is entirely dependent upon water transportation and the lake is the only harbor available. The district engineer regards the locality as worthy of the small improvement proposed and recommends a survey with plans and estimates of cost. The division engineer has doubt as to the advisability of the improvement but concurs in recommending the survey.

4. The board was not convinced from the evidence before it of the advisability of the improvement and interested parties were so informed and given an opportunity of presenting their views, but no communications on the subject have been received.

5. This is a very small' isolated community and, owing to the limited extent of the territory tributary thereto, there is little prospect of any material growth in either population or in the amount of business that will be done. Except for a small amount of fish shipped out, the commerce is confined to the domestic needs and will necessarily continue to be small. The mooring and anchorage of the small vessels would be convenienced by the improvement, but it would lead to no material increase in commerce or in the importance of the harbor. In view of these conditions the board is of opinion that the improvement by the United States of Silver Lake Harbor and entrance thereto is not advisable at this time.

6. In compliance with law, the board reports that there are no questions of terminal facilities, waterpower, or other related subjects which could be coordinated with the suggested improvement in such manner as to render the work advisable in the interests of commerce and navigation. For the board:

PETER C. HAINS,
Major General, United States Army, Retired,

Senior Member of the Board.

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF SILVER LAKE HARBOR, N. O.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,

Wilmington, N. C., December 24, 1918.
From: The District Engineer.
To: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army

(Through the Division Engineer). Subject: Preliminary examination report, Harbor of Silver Lake,

N. C. 1. This is a report on the preliminary examination of harbor of Silver Lake, Ocracoke Island, and entrance thereto from Pamlico Sound, N. C., provision for which was made in the river and harbor act approved August 8, 1917. The duty of making this preliminary examination was assigned to this office by department letter of September 1, 1917.

2. General description. Ocracoke Island is a portion of the barrier beach of North Carolina, lying between Ocracoke and Hatteras Inlets, and 20 miles distant across Pamlico Sound from the mainland. (See Coast Chart No. 1232.) It is about 16 miles long, and averages about one-half mile wide. The village of Ocracoke, at the west end of the island, is the only settlement, and has a population of about 700. The population is largely engaged in the catching of fish and oysters. Silver Lake is a small body of water, about 25 acres in area, in the center of the village. It has an average depth of about 3 feet of water and 5 feet of very soft and semifluid mud. It is connected with Pamlico Sound by a channel some 900 feet long and 50 feet wide, in which the present controlling depth is 2 feet at mean low water. On the south side of this channel

, a clam canning factory was formerly located, the shells from which were deposited so as to form protecting dikes on each side of the entrance channel. The ordinary variation of the tide at the outer end of this channel is 24 feet, while inside the lake it is 1 foot. A channel 6 to 7 feet deep at mean low water connects Ocrácoke with Pamlico Sound.

3. Previous improvement.--This harbor and entrance have never been improved by the United States. Ocracoke Inlet and the channel leading thereto from Pamlico Sound have been improved, but no work has been done since 1897; the project was abandoned after the opening of the inland waterway from Pamlico Sound to Beaufort Inlet.

4. Previous examinations. An examination of this harbor was authorized by the river and harbor act approved July 25, 1912, and resulted in a survey and preparation of plans for dredging the entrance channel and a portion of the lake, together with the construction of a bulkhead for the protection of the entrance. The report on the survey was unfavorable, the principal reason being that the cost of the proposed improvement was large compared with the valuation of the commerce to be benefited. (See H. Doc. No. 984, 63d Cong., 2d sess.)

5. Commercial statistics.—The amount and value of the commerce of the village of Ocracoke for the calendar year 1917 is shown in the following table:

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About 50 launches of less than 5 tons use Silver Lake for a harbor; there are some launches at Ocracoke, of less than 5 tons, that draw too much water to use the entrance to the lake, except at high water.

About 25 yachts go to Ocracoke during a year for a harbor and supplies.
Number of passengers transported during the year about 2,400.

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The imports are local in character and are received at a uniform rate throughout the year; groceries, hardware, and dry goods constitute 70 per cent of the value, and 14 per cent of the tonnage; other items large in tonnage are: Lumber and net stakes, 23 per cent; wood, 21 per cent; ice, 13 per cent; and gasoline, 5 per cent. The exports are a factor in the general food supply, and are heaviest during the winter months; fish constitutes 74 per cent of the tonnage and 63 per cent of the valuation, while cattle amounts to 11 per cent of the tonnage and 19 per cent of the valuation. There is no timber and no agricultural operations except in the matter of home gardens. There are no manufactures, no wholesale houses, and only four retail stores. The establishment of fish and oyster factories would seem to be a logical consequence of the improvement, and could easily develop a commerce of from 8,000 to 15,000 tons, valued at $100,000 to $150,000.

6. Terminal facilities.-Each of the four retail stores has a small wharf extending from the shore to deep water in the lake. They have no mechanical appliances for handling freight and are open to all without charge when not required by the owners. While these are small structures they are ample for the existing commerce, and a public terminal is not needed.

7. Water power.—There are no possibilities for the development of water power, nor of coordinating improvement for navigation with improvements desirable for other purposes, to compensate the Government for expenditures which may be made in the interest of navigation.

8. Maps.-A map is submitted herewith, compiled from the survey of 1913, with soundings in the entrance channel as taken on September 20, 1918.

9. Improvement desired.-In order to ascertain the extent of the improvement desired, Hon. John H. Small was requested to furnish this office with a list of names of parties interested. A list of six names was furnished, and letters written to all. Only two replies were received. The locality was visited on September 19 and 20, and interested parties interviewed. From these interviews it was learned that it is desired to have the entrance channel dredged to a depth of 5 feet. It was stated that it was not thought necessary to dredge within the lake, as owing to the soft mud bottom, a vessel drawing 5 feet could navigate where our map shows only 3 feet of water. A training wall on the north side of the outer entrance appears to be a necessity, both to prevent the deterioration of the channel from sand deposits that come from the north, and to furnish some protection to vessels making the channel in times of storm.

10. Special conditions. This locality is, and probably always will be, entirely dependent on water transportation. The lake is the only harbor available, and owing to the shallow depth of the entrance, it can be utilized only by the small fishing boats. The larger boats that carry the commerce to and from Washington, Newbern, Morehead City, and Beaufort, all about 70 miles distant by water, and those of sufficient size to engage in the fertilizer, fish, and oyster industry, have absolutely no protection at this point. The freight boats are compelled to lay off in the main channel and transfer their cargoes to lighter draft boats for delivery on the wharves in the lake. The service power boat at Coast Guard Station 187 is kept inside the lake, and the superintendent of the seventh district writes that "It would be of much benefit to all vessel owners, the United States Coast Guard included, were this channel way deepened to a depth of 5 feet or more.” The United States Post Office Department would also receive some benefit, as Ocracoke is the terminus of a boat route, and

Not printed.

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