OBX Beach Renourishment

What is beach renourishment?

Beach nourishment is the process of pumping sand onto an eroding shoreline to widen the existing beach. Sources of sand may include a nearby sandbar, a dredged source such as an inlet or waterway, or an offshore borrow site along the ocean floor. The widened shoreline provides increased defense from coastal storms and beach erosion protecting property, communities and infrastructure located along the shoreline.

Projected Town Schedules ::

Duck :

The start date is late May and should run through early July.  The duration for the entire project is forecast to take 45 days.

Southern Shores :

Late June through Early July is the start date.  The duration of the project is just 7 days.

Kitty Hawk :

Start date of early July through mid-September, with the duration of the project lasting 74 days.

Kill Devil Hills :

Early August through mid-September.  Total duration slated for 40 days.

Buxton :

Starting the last week of May through the end of August.  The longest duration of all towns at 90 days.

Previously Completed Projects

Over 4.5 million cubic yards of sand was placed along the designated ten-mile shoreline project area.

before & after


F A Q s

How will beach renourishment affect my visit to the Outer Banks?

Many Outer Banks areas will not be impacted by the current project.  However, if you are visiting the beaches in portions of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk or Kill Devil Hills between May and September, you may be affected.  Beach renourishment is also happening in Buxton on Hatteras Island from June through the end of August.  Depending on the location of the operations, you may experience some temporary construction noise, night illumination and beach access diversions.

Why does dredging take place during the summer months?

Dredging operations offshore of the Outer Banks typically take place in the summer months because it is much safer for the crews working on the offshore dredge.  The increased risk of safety and anticipated decreases in productivity in the winter months when sea conditions can shut down dredge operations were found to drive the cost of the projects up to a point where they would have no longer been financially viable.

How long will the construction affect my property?

About 1,000 feet of beach will be directly impacted during the construction at any one time, and a portion of this area may be closed.  Construction is anticipated to impact properties between 3-5 days.  Once a section is pumped into place, it should be re-opened for use within 24-48 hours.  Sand ramps will be placed over a temporary pipeline at every public access and then in intervals of no more than 200-300 feet, allowing people to get across and enjoy the beach seaward of the pipeline.

Will I be able to get to the beach while the project is underway?

Yes, you will be able to access the beach.  If construction limits access directly in front of your property, you may need to enter the beach at an alternate beach access.

Where will the sand come from?

For the beach renourishment projects occurring in the Towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores and Kill Devil Hills, the project consultants have identified two potential offshore sand borrow source areas for this project.  One location is offshore near Kill Devil Hills and the second location is offshore of Duck.  For the beach renourishment project occurring at the northern end of Buxton on Hatteras Island, the project consultants have identified a sand borrow source 1.7 miles offshore.

Do they work certain days of the week, or certain hours of the day?

The contractor will work 24 hours per day, seven days per week until the project is complete, depending on weather conditions.

Is the construction noisy?

You will be able to tell that there is construction operations underway in front of your property.  The sounds you will typically hear are the back up alarms from the bulldozers and trucks, which are required by federal law.  Lights will also be used on the beach throughout the night and may be visible from homes.

How is beach renourishment funded?

A portion of the 6% Occupancy Tax collected by Dare County is set aside for the Beach Renourishment Fund.  The occupancy tax is applied to gross receipts derived from the rental of room, lodging, campsite, hotel, motel, inn or tourist camp, including private residences and cottages rented to visitors.  The Beach Renourishment Fund must be used for the placement of sand, from other sand sources, the planting of vegetation and the building of structures that are in conformity with the NC CAMA, such as sand fences and dunes on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean for the purpose of widening the beach to benefit the public recreational use and mitigating damage and erosion from storms to inland property.






Nature Conservancy offers reward on cause of N.H. Woods fire

The Nature Conservancy is offering a $1,000 reward for information on who was responsible for starting a  fire  last week in the Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve.

A statement by the Conservancy, which owns and manages the preserve, said the fire was touched off by people but did not indicate if the incident might have been malicious. The area includes several walking trails as well as scattered pieces of private property and homes.

N.C. Forest Service Law Enforcement Supervisor David LaFon made the determination on the cause, the statement said. Call in tips to LaFon at 252-312-4367 or Dare Community Crimeline at 252-473-3111. You can also go online to http://www.darecommunitycrimeline.org.


The fire started last Tuesday and was contained three days later. Low humidity and wind complicated the effort.

About 240 of the preserve’s 1,100 acres burned, but the fire was limited to marshland and swamp forest along the Albemarle Sound.

The Forest Service led the effort, and the Conservancy cited the help of several organizations:

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Air Force, fire departments from Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Duck, Colington and Manns Harbor along with the Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire Department worked the fire.

“Dominion Power cooperated with the effort, shutting down power in the Preserve to all to improve safety for firefighters, and the Marshall Tillet family allowed its farm to be used as a staging area. Kelly’s Restaurant and the Outer Banks Brewing Station provided free food for firefighters.



source: Rob Morris, Outer Banks Voice

Celebrating the fruition of a 20 year effort

With a construction crane towering nearby and dump trucks rumbling past on N.C. 12, public officials, business people and local citizens gathered today for a celebration more than 20 years in the making.

The ceremonial groundbreaking at the foot of the old Bonner Bridge signified the transition of the fight for its replacement from a legal abstraction to what several speakers called a personal victory for those with a stake in its realization.


District 1 Board of Transportation representative Malcolm Fearing, recalling that his father attended the ribbon-cutting for the original bridge more than 50 years ago, proclaimed this a “historic day.”

“This is personal for people’s livelihood not just here on the Outer Banks but throughout North Carolina,” said Gov. Pat McCrory, one of five speakers at the ceremony.

Pointing to a character from The Lost Colony dressed in 16th-century regalia, McCrory declared to cheers and applause:

“We even have Queen Elizabeth, who’s been waiting a long time for this to happen!”

Other speakers credited McCrory with breaking the deadlock in litigation filed by environmental groups that had tied the project up for years. A compromise calls for construction of the new Bonner Bridge in exchange for a more durable and environmentally friendly plan for N.C. 12 to the south.

”It wasn’t me who did this,” McCrory said. “It was you who made this happen. It was the people of the Outer Banks that made this happen.”

Overhead, a plane pulled a banner admonishing McCrory’s support for offshore drilling. Some have noted a perceived contradiction between celebrating a potential boost for tourism and the possible economic damage from an oil spill. “Oil drilling is bad for business. Nottheanswer.org,” the banner read.

The old bridge, stretching in the background as McCrory spoke from a stage on the southern side of Oregon Inlet, is considered structurally deficient and more than 20 years past its expected lifespan.

Millions have been spent on keeping it in service in the face of rusting framework, crumbling concrete and erosion that has left pilings dangling above the ocean floor.

Near the site of the ceremony, erosion control fencing, barrels and safety barriers were clear evidence that prep work on the new span is already under way. It will cost $216 million under a design-build contract with PCL Constructors Inc. and HDR Engineering Inc. of the Carolinas.

State Secretary of Transportation Nick Tennyson said the new bridge is designed to last a century and should open in three years. It includes the first-time use of stainless reinforcing steel, deeper pilings and 8-foot-wide shoulders.

Replacing the one existing navigation span over a channel needing constant dredging will be seven farther south in deeper waters.

The bridge is the only land link to and from Hatteras Island. It was closed several days last year as the Department of Transportation addressed safety problems.

“With the new Bonner Bridge,” said Bob Woodard, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, “the people of Hatteras Island will have piece of mind.”

source: Rob Morris, Outer Banks Voice

Hatteras residents welcome beach re-nourishment, but not the tax district

At their April 4 meeting, the Dare Commissioners will hold a hearing on a proposed special tax service district to help fund the $27 million, 10-year beach nourishment project in Buxton. The plan to create a narrow tax district consisting of the 34 oceanfront properties in Buxton most directly affected by the project was approved by a 4-2 vote at the board’s Feb. 15 meeting.

It’s not clear what the commissioners will hear from Hatteras Island residents at that meeting, but Sentinel interviews with a number of them found two prevailing sentiments. One is that beach nourishment is badly needed and even overdue. The other is that the proposed tax district funding plan is unfair.

At the Feb. 15 commissioners meeting, Commissioner Allen Burrus — who represents Hatteras and is not seeking re-election — told the Sentinel the project could be financed through occupancy tax revenues that are earmarked for beach nourishment projects, as town projects are.

“Things are tight and times are hard,” he added in a recent interview. “Just about everyone thinks it’s unfair — but they know they have to accept it.”

The man running unopposed for Burrus’ seat on the board, Board of Education Member Danny Couch, views the tax district as intrinsically unfair.

Hatteras Island has contributed significantly to the beach nourishment funding mechanism set up by Dare County, something like twenty to twenty-five cents of every dollar,” he said. “Hatteras‘s generation of tax revenue has helped significantly to finance the municipality projects…”

Couch asserted that the county, state and federal governments all “have a stake” in the project and that the Department of the Interior is particularly involved, since it “owns three out of every four miles of Hatteras Island… It costs one hundred and twenty dollars for residents and property owners every year to drive on the beach, and that money should be fair game for the tax district.”

Carol Leigh Dillon-Dawson is the owner of the Cape Hatteras Motel, one of the Buxton oceanfront properties in the proposed tax district. “A lot of people are upset,” she said. “In fact, they’re furious.” Referring to the millions spent on dredging Oregon Inlet, she added: “What amount of taxes are the fishermen paying to use that inlet?”

“It’s a shame,” stated Rauna Fuller. “My family owned a lot of property in Buxton that was taken by the Park Service in the fifties. They made lots of promises — we would always have access to the beaches, our highway would be protected. They just haven’t kept them. And now they want to tax people for something that should have been done all along as regular maintenance?”

Buxton oceanfront homeowner Christie Roberson was fatalistic about the funding plan. “We are at everyone’s mercy to do what we are asked,” she said.

Aside from opposition to the tax district, there is widespread recognition among the residents interviewed that, whatever the funding mechanism, the beach nourishment work is desperately needed.

Dillon-Dawson said the aggressive dredging of Oregon Inlet — combined with the presence of the terminal groin at the south end of the inlet — are contributing to Hatteras Island’s powerful south-to-north littoral drift and literally “pulling sand off our beaches.” She said one geologist told her the next new inlet will form less than a mile north of her motel.

Noting the pronounced narrowing of Hatteras Island in recent years, she declared that, “It’s time to stop talking about beach nourishment in Buxton and do it — or it will be too late.”

Roberson recounted how she and other oceanfront homeowners in Buxton “have pushed sand, hauled sand, cleared roads and maintained accesses for over ten years” and followed advice to place expensive sandbags on the beach — only to find that they “created a slue effect” that worsened the erosion.

Buxton is in a state of emergency,” she emphasized. “We have to get this [beach nourishment] done by early summer or we’re done.”

“It’s become a safety issue,” added Rhonda Koon, explaining that sections of N.C. 12 from the north end of Buxton to the south end of the island are “impassable…with two to three feet of water in some areas.”

Recounting his heart attack in 2011, Raymond Austin said he would be “in trouble” if he had another medical emergency — and worries about other people with medical conditions who are literally risking their lives to stay on the island.

One thing is certain, he said: “If we don’t put something there to hold the sand in place, it will just wash away. The beach nourishment will be a quick fix — but one that only lasts until the next hurricane comes.”


source: Neel Keller, Outer Banks Sentinel

High surf continues to cause overwash, flooding in Kitty Hawk

Ocean over-wash was still causing problems during high tide Tuesday morning in Kitty Hawk, Buxton and on Ocracoke Island, as high surf from the Super Sunday storm continued to pound the Outer Banks.

N.C. 12 is closed in portions of Kitty Hawk, because sand, water and debris was covering the road and vehicles were stuck in multiple locations Tuesday morning.



Sea water was also starting to collect between the beach road and the bypass, especially in the mile post 2 area of Kitty Hawk.

Sea water was also starting to collect between the beach road and the bypass, especially in the mile post 2 area of Kitty Hawk.

The area of North Virginia Dare Trail at the intersection with Kitty Hawk Road, which was washed out twice in 2015, was still open to traffic. But the dune rebuilt at the end of last year has been eaten away again.

Sandbags at the base of the dune that protect the roadbed have also been exposed.

Dunes up and down the beach in Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills have taken a beating from the latest storm. Those beaches are due for a nourishment project, that also includes Duck, that is scheduled to start in mid-April.

The motels area on the north end of Buxton also continues to experience flooding, but N.C. Department of Transportation crews have been able to keep the road open to traffic despite standing ocean water on the pavement.


On Ocracoke, N.C. 12 is closed on the north end of the island, after recently rebuilt dunes were flattened over the weekend.

The NCDOT said the stretches of highway closed in both Kitty Hawk and Ocracoke would not reopen until Wednesday at the earliest.

Seas of 6 to 9 feet continued to wash up the beaches, pushed by the powerful coastal storm that was bringing blizzard conditions to New England. Waves are forecast to start subsiding Tuesday night.




source: Sam Walker, Outer Banks Voice

Currituck not interested, for now, in vacation home size limits

When it comes to regulating large vacation homes on Currituck’s beaches, apparently size doesn’t matter.

During a retreat held this past weekend, the consensus among Currituck County’s Board of Commissioners was that an outright cap on house size wasn’t something they wanted to pursue.

“We’re a tourism-driven economy,” commissioner Mike Hall said Saturday. “By cutting down on the size of these houses, are we cutting our own throat?”


Instead, the commissioners asked the planning staff and the county manager to look into options regarding use and its impact on adjoining property owners.

The commissioners would like to see dimensional standards addressed, perhaps requiring a proposed structure size to correlate to its lot size. An other option would be limiting new structures based on the size and use of adjoining properties.

Fire safety dominated much of the discussion Saturday, although commissioners were reminded that the state didn’t require sprinkler systems in residential areas, which many of them would like to see in large beach rentals with multiple bedrooms.

Commissioner Paul Beaumont reminded the commissioners of the 2012 fire in the Pine Island section of Corolla, in which two houses were total losses and three others suffered some degree of damage.

“It could have been a fuse, all the way down the beach, house after house,” Beaumont said. Sprinkler systems would have helped contain it, he added.

The board asked staff to look into local legislation that would address life-safety issues, such as mandatory sprinkler systems, wider staircases, third floor exits, and safety modifications regarding the possible collapse of large decks in residential structures.

Increasing setbacks for large structures, including accessory buildings such as pool houses and cabanas, from 10 feet to 40 feet was another suggestion staff suggested the board consider.

Commissioners said they would like to see better enforcement of parking regulations and noise permits.

County manager Dan Scanlon suggested the commissioners not discount redevelopment, where smaller houses are bulldozed down to make way for large vacation homes. “The complaints are the ones that don’t fit,” he added.

Scanlon also pointed out that since most Dare County towns were limiting overall size of homes, the danger is in pushing all big homes up to Currituck’s northern beaches, where the infrastructure isn’t there to support them.



source: Dee Langston, Outer Banks Voice

Dowdy Park – vision to reality

Nags Head prepares for design of playground phase

The effort to transform the former Dowdy Amusement Park from an empty five-acre lot into a vibrant “community center park” picked up steam last week as the town of Nags Head put out a call for landscape architects to help design the $1.2 million “Phase I” of the park plan.


      “We’re looking to move forward with a phased development plan,” said Deputy Town Manager Andy Garman, who is overseeing the project. “We’re going to get ready to start the actual design process to develop the site.”

      There are a number of key dates and deadlines to be met along the way and, if all goes according to plan, the public could be using the new park by the end of this year.

      “We see this as more of a neighborhood park with neighborhood scale events,” Garman stated. “People can walk to it…It really is sort of a community center park. I think this will be the first of its kind in the town.”

      As currently envisioned, the Phase I project includes: an event plaza that could house something like a craft fair or a farmer’s market; a pavilion for smaller scale concerts; fitness stations; walking trails; a parking lot for about 40 cars; a multi-use turf area; and, of key importance, an inclusive playground component. (Later phases could possibly include such amenities as a bocce lawn, a multi-use court and a multi-use playing field.)

      The momentum for Phase I picked up dramatically when Trillium Health Resources, the governmental agency that manages mental health and other services in eastern North Carolina, agreed to provide a $750,000 grant — a development the town had not anticipated. Another $250,000 toward the project is coming from the Dare County Tourism Board, and the town plans on using about $150,000 from its capital reserve fund for parks and paths.

      “The Trillium thing just kind of came up,” Garman noted. “We got approached by them because they were aware we were developing a park, so they thought it would be a good idea to do an inclusive playground.”

      Trillium’s requirement for an all-inclusive playground is intended “to address the special needs population,” he added. “They’ll be looking at if a person’s in a wheelchair, has a specific sensory deficit, autism….The idea is that [the playground] doesn’t exclude anybody from its use.”

      Garman explained that the idea is not to create “formal playground areas,” but instead to have “play components scattered throughout that would sort of blend into the facility…In some cases, you might have sculptures or artistic features that could also serve as a play feature.”

      The “Request for Qualifications” soliciting landscape architects went out from the town on Jan. 12, with a deadline to respond of Feb. 5. Garman said the town will then move quickly to select the most qualified firm and “negotiate the scope of services and cost…Once we get them on board, we’ll probably have seventy-five days to get this draft design of the playground done to submit to Trillium.”

      The goal is to complete the design of the playground facility by April 30, have a contractor ready to start construction “in the July time frame” and finish the construction of the playground elements by Nov. 30. 

      Phase I “will set the stage for everything to come,” Garman noted.  “So we want to get this phase right.”

      After Phase I is complete, there are a number of questions to be resolved going forward, including funding and the ultimate composition of the facility. “Even beyond a Phase Two or a Phase Three…I could see that a lot of the park would continue to evolve,” said Garman. “I think that’s what makes this park unique.”

source: Mark Jurkowitz, Outer Banks Sentinel