Beach commission to discuss next nourishment project, future easements

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(Carteret County Shore Protection Office photo)

Posted May 17, 2020

Bulldozers work in early April to spread wet sand spewing ashore in eastern Pine Knoll Shores from the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. vessel Liberty Island, just offshore. The effort was part of the second phase of an ongoing Bogue Banks nourishment effort.

EMERALD ISLE — The Carteret County Beach Commission is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the next Bogue Banks beach nourishment project for central and possibly a part of eastern Emerald Isle.

The goal is to get it underway in 2021.

The session, which will begin at 2 p.m., will likely be in the Emerald Isle Board of Commissioners’ meeting room beside the police station on the north side of Highway 58. Some members might participate by video conference, according to Greg Rudolph, manager of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office. The beach commission advises his office.

Mr. Rudolph said Friday the goal of the discussion will be to determine the parameters of the project in order to get it out for bid to contractors as soon as possible. Early bids usually result in cost savings, as the companies that do the work are few and usually booked months if not years in advance.

Mr. Rudolph in the past has said the next project will likely be similar in scope to the recently completed one, which put roughly 2 million cubic yards of sand along 9.5 miles of beach in western Atlantic Beach, all of Pine Knoll Shores, part of Salter Path and western Emerald Isle.

That project cost $28.2 million, including about $15 million in state money and about $13 million in county beach nourishment fund money, which is derived from half the proceeds from the county occupancy tax.

The next project, Mr. Rudolph said Friday, will likely be funded entirely by the money the county and the towns receive from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay to replace sand lost during Hurricane Florence in September 2018.

The project will be considered phase three of the post-Florence project. The second phase was the one recently completed, and the first phase was in 2019 and included some of eastern Emerald Isle, all of Indian Beach and most of Salter Path.

Despite the FEMA money, Mr. Rudolph said there is some concern about “cash flow during construction and consequent … payment” to the chosen contractor. The first two phases were done by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. of Illinois and cost about $20 million and $28.2 million, respectively.

Phase two covered about twice as much beach and used about twice as much sand as phase one but didn’t cost twice as much. Mr. Rudolph has said the difference in cost can likely be attributed to the fact that bid proposals for phase one went out much closer to the proposed start date than the bid proposal for phase two.

The other major item on the commission agenda will be a presentation on an easement procurement strategy associated with the county’s unscheduled U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Storm Damage Reduction project.

The ACE in January announced it had approved a $44 million allocation to bolster the county’s Bogue Banks Beach Master Nourishment Plan, which establishes a schedule, with federal cost-sharing, for nourishing beaches on the island over a 50-year period.

The ACE had already approved the master plan, which the county started working on in 2010, but had not provided any funds for it.

Because it took so long – more than a decade – to get the first-of-its-kind plan approved by the federal agency, the county years ago embarked on its own “interim” master beach nourishment plan, which uses measurements and “triggers” to indicate when beaches need to be nourished. That’s been the plan used for all of the recent projects.

The master plan streamlines the permitting process for projects along 25-mile-long Bogue Banks, identifies long-term sand sources and specifies expected costs and beach and dune construction parameters, all designed to protect the county’s major industry, tourism, and a huge part of the tax base.

Friday, Mr. Rudolph said in order for the ACE to construct the master plan project, it will “need metes-and-bounds types of easements rather than the more descriptive easements” the county has used in its non-federal projects.

In total, he said, 1,203 easements will be needed, and a third-party associate might be needed to help.

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

Source: carolinacoastonline