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County Beach Commission takes no action to recommend repair of Bogue Banks erosion

This Carteret County Shore Protection Office photo shows “cliffs” on the beach, created by erosion from winter storms, in Emerald Isle earlier this year.

Posted on May 1, 2024

The Carteret County Beach Commission informally agreed Monday not to recommend trying to get permits to bulldoze sand to repair erosion caused by winter storms earlier this year.

The board met in the Emerald Isle Board of Commissioners’ meeting room off Highway 58.

Ryan Davenport, Carteret County Shore Protection Office manager, gave the advisory beach commission a short presentation on what would be necessary in order to get state permits for beach bulldozing to repair escarpments up to six feet high in Emerald Isle and smaller ones elsewhere on the island.

The permitting process would take time, Davenport said, and require consultation and approval from the state Wildlife Resources Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The current situation, he said, does not seem to be an “emergency,” as there is still 40 to 50 feet of sand between the ocean and the escarpments.

Davenport added that he recently drove along the beaches and believes the prevailing southerly winds have, as expected, already started to repair the damage.

In addition, Davenport said, bulldozing sand up from the waterline to repair the escarpments could actually result in more erosion by channeling water.

He said the dunes – although damaged by the strong winter/spring storms – actually did exactly what they were supposed to do: absorb and dissipate the wave energy from the storms, protecting the oceanfront structures.

The beach commission, which advises Davenport’s office, agreed after watching an Emerald Isle drone video in March. It showed the beach – and sand just offshore – along much of the island.

The beach was narrower than it had been through Emerald Isle, Indian Beach/Salter Path and Pine Knoll Shores but appeared relatively unscathed in Atlantic Beach.

The erosion during the winter storms came from large swells generated from southeast winds, which have the most energy and are the most impactful along Bogue Banks.

The county had one beach nourishment project scheduled last year in Salter Path near the county’s beach access parking lot, but the project never started because the sand it was to use was determined to not be “beach quality.”

The county, mostly using millions of dollars in Federal Emergency Management Agency money, pumped millions of cubic yards of sand along the beaches of all of Bogue Banks in 2019, 2020 and 2021 in the wake of Hurricane Florence in 2018.


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