With these upcoming beach nourishment projects scheduled to take place during the summer months or in early fall, many Outer Banks visitors, residents and property owners may have questions about why these projects are performed and what they can expect while beach nourishment is underway in their area. Following is an overview of beach nourishment in Dare County, and a wealth of additional information—including detailed project maps, projected timelines, a video gallery and extensive FAQs—can be found at www.MoreBeachToLove.com.
What is beach nourishment and why is it so important?
Beach nourishment is the process of pumping sand onto the shoreline in order to address the critical issue of erosion by widening the existing beach. Sources of this sand that is pumped onto the beach may include a nearby sandbar, a dredged source (such as an inlet or waterway), or an offshore borrow site located along the ocean floor.
The widened shoreline that is created once a beach nourishment project is complete provides an increased line of defense against coastal storms whose strong waves and high winds all contribute to beach erosion, which can have devastating effects on coastal communities.
In addition to providing a larger buffer between the Atlantic Ocean and infrastructure, beach nourishment also provides a wider recreational beach for residents, visitors and property owners to enjoy, as well as additional habitat for various species of wildlife.
Investing in beach nourishment is therefore essential for protecting properties and infrastructure on the Outer Banks, preserving wildlife, and supporting tourism and the economy for the communities that are located along the coast.
How does the beach nourishment process work?
Beach nourishment involves dredging sand from another area—such as a nearby sandbar or an offshore borrow site located along the ocean floor—and then pumping that sand onshore via a pipeline system to widen the shoreline of a particular stretch of beach. As the sand is pumped onto the shoreline, construction equipment ranging from bulldozers and excavators to front-end loaders will be used to distribute the sand along the portion of the beach that is in the process of being nourished.
When and where will Outer Banks beach nourishment take place in 2022?
Beach nourishment projects are planned to take place in the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head—as well as within the villages of Avon and Buxton on Hatteras Island—beginning in the early summer of 2022. It is important to note that the following schedules are subject to change due to a variety of factors, including weather and equipment issues. For the most up-to-date information regarding project schedules and timelines, remember to visit www.MoreBeachToLove.com.
- Avon – Approximately 2.5 miles of shoreline from 3,000 feet north of Avon Pier at Due East Road to the National Park Service Station/Avon Boundary will be nourished in the Village of Avon on Hatteras Island. The project is scheduled to begin in late June and is expected to take approximately 40-60 days to complete.
- Buxton – Approximately 2.9 miles of shoreline from the Haulover Day Use Area to the oceanfront groin at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will be nourished in the Village of Buxton on Hatteras Island. This project is scheduled to begin in July and is expected to take approximately 40-60 days to complete.
- Duck – Approximately 1.6 miles of shoreline from the Army Corps Pier north to Skimmer Way will be nourished in the Town of Duck. This project is scheduled to begin in mid-September and is expected to take approximately 25-30 days to complete.
- Southern Shores – A 3.8-mile beach nourishment project will start in Southern Shores in early August, and will target the shoreline from the Southern Shores/Kitty Hawk town line to the Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills town line. This project will take roughly 35-40 days to complete.
- Kitty Hawk – Approximately 3.97 miles of shoreline from the Southern Shores/Kitty Hawk town line to the Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills line will be nourished in the Town of Kill Devil Hills. Construction is slated to begin in early July, and the project is expected to take 30-35 days to complete.
- Kill Devil Hills – The Kill Devil Hills beach nourishment project will target 2.58 miles of shoreline from the Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills town line to 270 feet north of Prospect Avenue. The project is scheduled to begin in mid-June and is expected to take an estimated 25-35 days to complete.
- Nags Head – Approximately 4.45 miles of shoreline from 8031 South Oregon Inlet Road (near Milepost 16) to 10435 South Oregon Inlet Road will be nourished in the town of Nags Head. This project is expected to start in early August and is expected to take approximately 30 days to complete.
How can I keep track of where beach nourishment is currently under construction in each area?
Dare County and the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head have collaborated to create www.MoreBeachToLove.com, a website that is designed to serve as a convenient and comprehensive guide to all of the beach nourishment projects taking place on the Outer Banks.
In addition to detailed project information, a video gallery and an array of frequently asked questions, www.MoreBeachToLove.com also features project maps that will be updated as beach nourishment progresses in each area.
- Click here to view the Avon project map.
- Click here to view the Buxton project map.
- Click here to view the Town of Duck project map.
- Click here to view the Town of Southern Shores project map.
- Click here to view the Town of Kitty Hawk project map.
- Click here to view the Town of Kill Devil Hills project map.
- Click here to view the Town of Nags Head project map.
Visitors, residents and property owners can also sign up to receive email updates for each of the projects scheduled to take place throughout 2022 as they progress. To sign up to receive these updates, visit www.MoreBeachToLove.com.
Will I be able to get to the beach while beach nourishment is underway?
Residents, visitors and property owners will still be able to access the beach while the projects are taking place; however, a portion of the approximately 1,000-foot area that is actively under construction at any given time may be closed temporarily in order to ensure public safety.
If construction operations limit or restrict access to the beach directly in front of your property or accommodations, you may need to enter the beach at an alternate beach access. Beach nourishment construction operations are anticipated to impact the properties along a particular stretch of shoreline for a period of three to six days, although this can change depending on a variety of factors. Once that section of sand is pumped into place, the area will likely be reopened for use within 24-48 hours.
Sand ramps will be placed over a temporary pipeline at every public access and then in intervals of 200-300 feet, allowing people to safely get past the equipment and enjoy the beach on the ocean side of the pipeline.
Do beach nourishment crews only work certain days of the week or certain hours of the day?
The contractor performing beach nourishment operations will typically work 24/7 until the project is complete, depending on weather conditions.
Why does beach nourishment occur in the summer?
The dredges that are used to perform beach nourishment can only operate in certain conditions when it comes to wind speeds and wave heights, which are typically more favorable in the summer months on the Outer Banks. In addition, beach nourishment in Dare County typically takes place in the summer months because the storms that frequently affect the area in late fall, winter and early spring can cause dangerous conditions for the crews who are tasked with performing dredging operations along the Outer Banks coastline.
What can I expect if beach nourishment is taking place near my property?
To ensure the safety of the public throughout the duration of the beach nourishment projects, some areas of the beach will be closed to accommodate construction and the staging of equipment, and public access to the beach will be restricted and/or redirected to other locations.
In an active beach nourishment construction area, bulldozers, loaders and excavators are the primary pieces of equipment that will be utilized. The sounds that will typically be heard are the backup alarms from 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.
Outside of the active construction areas, shore pipelines will be laid to allow for sand to be pumped from the nearshore pump-out station to the active construction area. This pipeline will run parallel to the beach, and pipelines may remain in place in front of individual properties for several weeks. However, sand ramps will be constructed over the pipelines to provide access to the beach on the ocean side of the pipeline.
The bottom line…
In an effort to restore and protect the delicate coastline of the Outer Banks, a series of beach nourishment projects will be completed in 2022 in the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head, as well as the villages of Avon and Buxton on Hatteras Island.
While beach nourishment operations could potentially impact you temporarily if your property is located within or near a project area, these shoreline restoration projects are essential for providing an increased defense against erosion, as well as protecting infrastructure, properties and the economy of Dare County’s coastal communities. Making these improvements to our coastline today helps to ensure that all Outer Banks residents, visitors and property owners will have a better beach to enjoy tomorrow.
For the most up-to-date information about the beach nourishment projects that are scheduled to take place throughout Dare County in 2022—including detailed project maps, a video gallery and an array of frequently asked questions—please visit www.MoreBeachToLove.com.