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Who owns the islands between Wilmington and the mouth of the Cape Fear River?

Ken Little
Spoil island

Most of the spoil islands in the Cape Fear River are owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. (StarNews file photo)

There are from 18 to 20 small islands in the Cape Fear River between Wilmington and the mouth of the river, and about half are under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said John Manning, a realty specialist for the Corps’ Wilmington District.

“The islands that were given to us as spoil were given to us by the state of North Carolina,” Manning said.

About 10 of the spoil islands were given easements by the state in 1965 so the Corps of Engineers could deposit sand, soil and other material dredged during regular channel-clearing operations, Manning said.

“We also have spoil islands up and down the (Intracoastal Waterway),” he said.

As for the islands in the Cape Fear River, “other ones could be private or public. We don’t really know. It’s up to the individual to go down and check on land records themselves,” Manning said.

For purposes of hunting on a spoil island, “You would have to get written permission from the underlying owner, which is the state, and then they would come to us,” Manning said.

If the state approves hunting on an island, the Corps would also likely approve the request, Manning said.

User-contributed question by:
Elmo Langley

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