ATLANTIC BEACH — Cleanup in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene has included the quick removal of an unusual sight along the beaches of Bogue Banks.
Staff with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries worked Monday morning with a small inmate crew from Carteret Correctional Center to remove tires that had washed up on the strand in the Atlantic Beach area.
An estimated 700 to 800 tires, believed to be from an artificial reef, washed ashore, with most concentrated in an area between Fort Macon and Indian Beach, according to a division news release.
The shoreline was cleared by afternoon of all the tires that had washed up onto the beach, division spokeswoman Patricia Smith said. Some tires were visible out in the tide line.
“They’ll go out again (today) and pick up any residuals,” she said.
The tires were likely from the Atlantic Beach reef and the Onslow Bay Saltwater Fishing Club reef.
In the 1970s the Division of Marine Fisheries constructed artificial reefs made of tires. While the practice of using tires for reefs ended years ago, ones remaining as part of old reefs can be loosened by strong storms and wash ashore.
Hurricane Irene scattered quite a few of the tires along the beach strand, but the number wasn’t as large as in the past.
The last time tires washed ashore along Bogue Banks in such a large number was during Hurricane Earl in 2010 and Hurricane Bonnie in 1998. In March 1993, a winter storm caused thousands of tires to wash ashore in Brunswick County, according to a previous Daily News report.
The N.C. Department of Correction provided the inmate crew from Carteret Correctional Center in Newport to help with the tire clean up efforts in Carteret County. According to a DOC news release, inmates assigned to work crews are in minimum custody and are screened prior to being placed on jobs outside the prison facility. During the work, they were supervised by correctional staff.
The tires were removed and taken to a staging area where a contractor who recycles tires will pick them up, the release said.Chuck Beckley / The Daily News
Staff with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is working this morning to clean up tires that washed up on the beach strand in Atlantic Beach over the weekend in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
According to a division news release, staff report that less than 1,000 tires washed ashore, concentrated between Fort Macon and Indian Beach. Staff members are working with a small inmate crew to remove the tires from the beach as quickly as possible.
The tires will be removed and taken to a staging area where a contractor who recycles tires will pick them up, the release said.
The tires are likely from artificial reefs located offshore in the area.
As part of its artificial reef program, in the 1970s the Division of Marine Fisheries constructed artificial reefs made of tires for fish habitat and to produce attractive fishing grounds. The practice of using tires for artificial reefs has been discontinued for many years; however, tires from these old reefs are sometimes loosened during storms and wash ashore, the division said.
DMF staff believes that the tires that washed up this weekend came from the Atlantic Beach reef and the Onslow Bay Saltwater Fishing Club reef.