Unexploded danger lies beneath sand and waters of off-limits Brown’s Island

1 Jun 2018 | Cpl. Breanna Weisenberger Marine Corps Installations East

ONSLOW BEACH, N.C. -- In between Onslow Beach and Hammocks Beach State Park is Brown’s Island, one of three major Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune impact areas that have existed since the base’s establishment in 1941.

This impact area has been in use more than 50 years for military training including naval gunnery practice and live fire from mortars, machine guns, rockets and artillery.

“The Brown’s Island Policy is (there) to inform the public about the dangers that lay underneath the sand and waters of this inviting beach,” said Nicholas Klaus, deputy director, range control branch and range control officer. “We’ve used rounds that vary from 9mm up to 500lbs. The problem is that they can be fired out of a weapon, but in some cases dud or fail to explode.”

According to the policy, officials emphasize the importance of not trespassing on Brown's Island and remind users of the Atlantic-Intracoastal Waterway of the restrictions to the creeks and tributaries leading to and around Brown's Island to protect them from the frequent live-fire training exercises conducted in the area and the danger of unexploded ordnance (UXO).

All rules and regulations originate and comply with the Code of Federal Regulations 334.440.

• Absolutely no unauthorized people are allowed on any part of the island.

• Boaters traversing the Atlantic-Intracoastal Waterway in close proximity to the island may not stop, tie up or disembark their vessels.

• No crab-pots, fishing with bottom dragging nets, anchoring, or any bottom disturbing activities are allowed anywhere in the vicinity of Brown's Island.

• All navigable waters in the area between the south bank of Bear Creek and the north bank of Brown's Inlet are base property and are strictly off-limits due to highly sensitive unexploded ordnance in this area.

• Bear Creek and Muddy Creek leading to the Intracoastal Waterway to Bear Inlet are open to unrestricted navigation; however an unknown element of risk exists in this area due to the possible presence of unexploded projectiles.

• Boaters may proceed through Brown's Inlet without stopping during periods of nonmilitary use. For safety reasons, due to the presence of unexploded projectiles, any contact with the bottom of the waterways or any bottom disturbing activity is strictly prohibited. Caution should be used through these waters.

• Military Police in concert with U.S. Coast Guard will continue to regularly patrol the area and issue citations to trespassers that will require an appearance before the federal magistrate in Wilmington. Violators can be imprisoned up to six months and fined a maximum of $5,000.

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