Beach nourishment involves the dredging and placement of large amounts of sand from offshore sand sources. The sand is placed according to an engineered plan with specific criteria for a built beach and storm protection.
How will beach nourishment affect my visit to the Outer Banks?
Many Outer Banks areas will not be impacted by the current project. However, if you are staying in or accessing beaches in portions of Duck, Southern Shores, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk between the months of May and September 2017*, you may be affected. Beach nourishment is also happening in Buxton on Hatteras Island from June 1 through August 31, 2017. Detailed sand pumping location information will be available on the progress map, which will be updated during construction. Depending upon the location of the operations, you may experience some temporary construction noise, night illumination, and beach access diversions. Please be patient with our much needed project – beach nourishment is vital to our towns’ future.
Why does dredging take place in 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 costs of the projects up to a point where they would have no longer been financially viable.
Where will construction for the Buxton beach nourishment project begin?
The contractors have not yet determined where the Buxton beach nourishment project will start and we may not have that information until a week or two before construction begins. This FAQ will be updated once a final decision has been made.
How long will construction affect my property?
About 1,000 feet of the beach will be directly impacted during construction at any one time and a portion of this area may be closed. Construction is anticipated to impact properties between 3-6 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. There will be a wide beach after nourishment, giving people large areas seaward of the pipeline to enjoy. The newly built beach may be a bit darker than the old beach, but it will quickly bleach out from the sun.
How can I get the most current information on where the sand pumping is taking place?
You can sign up for email updates from the towns and receive the most current construction information straight to your inbox or check MoreBeachtoLove.com for updates.
Will I be able to get to the beach while the project is underway?
Yes! If construction limits access directly in front of your property, you may need to enter the beach at an alternate
Sand ramps will be placed over a temporary pipeline at every public access and then in intervals of 300 feet, allowing people to get across and enjoy the beach seaward of the pipeline. There will be a wide beach after nourishment, giving people large areas seaward of the pipeline to enjoy. The newly built beach may be a bit darker than the old beach, but it will quickly bleach out from the sun.
Will they pump sand onto the beach in more than one place at a time?
Because we have such a short weather window in which to complete the project, there may be more than one section of our beach affected at a time.
Where will the sand come from?
For the beach nourishment projects occurring in the Towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores and Kill Devil Hills---the project consultants, Coastal Planning and Engineering, have identified two potential offshore sand borrow source areas for this project. One location is offshore near Kill Devil Hills and a second location is offshore of Duck.
For the beach nourishment project occurring in the northern end of Buxton on Hatteras Island, the project consultants, Coastal Science and Engineering Inc., have identified a sand borrow source, 1.7 miles offshore from the project area.
Initially, the sand pumped onto the beach may appear to be a darker color. The sand has been buried and unexposed to sunlight. Once exposed to the elements, this disappears quickly and the material will match the existing sand.
Do they work certain days of the week or certain hours of the day?
The contractor will work 24/7 until the project is complete, depending on weather conditions.
Is construction noisy?
You will be able to tell if construction operations are underway in front of your property. The sounds you will typically hear are the back up alarms from bulldozers and trucks, which are required by federal law. Lights will be used on the beach throughout the night and may be visible from homes.
When will construction take place in 2017? Why do they work in the summer?
Frequent late fall, winter, and early spring storms make working off our shore very dangerous. The summer and early fall are the safest times to perform the work.
What kind of equipment will be used during the construction?
In the active construction area, bulldozers, loaders, and excavators are the primary pieces of equipment being utilized. The active construction area may also contain a mobile construction office (skid-mounted), light plants, welding equipment, and other ancillary equipment. Construction typically occurs on a 24/7 basis. Dozers and loaders are equipped with back up alarms and lights. Outside the active construction areas, shore pipeline 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. Pipelines may remain in place in front of individual properties for several weeks. However, sand ramps will be constructed over the pipelines to allow pedestrian traffic over the pipe.
How is beach nourishment funded?
A portion of the 6% Occupancy Tax collected by Dare County is set aside for the Beach Nourishment Fund. The occupancy tax is applied to gross receipts derived from rental of room, lodging, campsite, or similar accommodation furnished by any hotel, motel, inn, tourist camp including private residence and cottages rented to visitors. The Beach Nourishment 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 NC CAMA, such as sand fences and dunes, on beaches of the Atlantics Ocean of North Carolina for the purpose of widening the beach to benefit public recreational use and mitigating damage and erosion from storms to inland property.
Occupancy Tax Distribution Rate
3% Room Occupancy Tax (68% of net proceeds to Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Manteo, Nags Head and Southern Shores in proportion to the amount of ad valorem taxes levied by each town for the preceding fiscal year and 32% to Dare County)
1% Room Occupancy and Tourism Development Tax (net proceeds to the Dare County Tourism Board)
2% Room Occupancy and Tourism Development Tax for Beach Nourishment
Who is doing the work for projects in the Towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills?
Coastal Planning and Engineering (CP&E) is under contract to do all work associated with permitting and engineering of the project. The contractor who will be responsible for the construction of the project is Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company.
Who is doing the work for the project in Buxton on Hatteras Island?
How will sea turtle nests be protected during the project?
During the Duck, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, and Kill Devil Hills projects, N.E.S.T. (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles) will be monitoring the beaches. Nesting surveys will take place every morning from sunrise to 9 a.m. N.E.S.T volunteers will drive the entire length of the project area to identify any sea turtle nests.
In addition to the morning surveys, a N.E.S.T. volunteer will be on site at night monitoring the construction area for turtles. If a sea turtle is observed, work will be stopped within 500 feet of the turtle. If a turtle lays a nest, work will not resume within 500 feet of the nest until the nest has been relocated.
For more information about sea turtles and the beach nourishment project, click here.
What will happen to the organisms, such as sand fleas, that live on the beach and in the surf zone?
Benthic organisms (organisms that live in on or near the seabed) in the surf zone generally have short life cycles and recover rapidly after beach nourishment (or severe storms). Typical recovery rates are measured in months according to numerous studies.
Will physical dunes be built along the shoreline during construction of the Buxton beach nourishment project?
No. However, following completion of the project sand fencing will be placed along the berm and shaping will be done to jump-start dune growth. Any dunes already in place prior to the project will remain untouched. Construction will take place seaward of existing dunes.