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Is Rat Island a spoil island? How did it get its name?

Rat Island

Piers of the Interstate 140 bridge over the Northeast Cape Fear River rest on Rat Island as the highway passes north of Wilmington. (StarNews file photo from 2004)

Rat Island doesn’t appear to be a spoil island, as the state Department of the Environment and Natural Resources has records of it going back to 1877, said Chip Collier, a supervisor with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

“I checked with the Army Corps of Engineers, and their river deepening didn’t go into those areas,” Collier said.

The name also dates to at least 1877, but Collier found no record of the meaning or logic behind the title.

“I’m not sure how we would determine that,” he added. “No one’s been here that long.”

Piers for the Interstate 140 bridge over the Northeast Cape Fear River rest on Rat Island as the highway passes north of Wilmington.


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