Two decades in the works, beach widening begins

By on May 24, 2011


The first stream of offshore sand Tuesday. Above, crews had covered about two blocks by Wednesday. (Voice photos)

After a couple of false starts, a dredge offshore sent a slurry of sand onto the Nags Head beach at nightfall Tuesday, starting a nourishment project with roots dating back at least two decades.

A small crowd gathered near the end of E. Lakeside Street shortly before sundown as bulldozers stood ready near a 30-inch pipe that looked like an antique cannon propped above the shorebreak.

The first burst of slurry was probably sand still in the pipe from a previous job, said Tim Kana of Coastal Science & Engineering, the manager of the project.

Green seawater followed as some glitches were worked out with the pump. Finally, as darkness took over, the first fresh sand mixed with seawater billowed onto the beach. It didn’t smell.

A light tower and spotlights from bulldozers created an other-worldly scene as the long-planned project finally got under way.

The Liberty Island prepares to hook up to the pipeline. (Russ Lay photo)

The dredge Liberty Island had scooped up the sand from a borrow area about 2 miles offshore and then steamed in to hook up to the pipeline within sight of the shore.

“I think it’ll take a couple of weeks even to see what we’ve got,” said Mayor Bob Oakes.

Dredging wasn’t supposed to start until early June, but the Liberty Island, a hopper dredge more than 300 feet long, was freed up earlier than expected. Hopes are for the project to wrap up by October, barring major storms or malfunctions.

“I hope it moves along quickly,” Oakes said.

Christian Legner briefs turtle watch team Anthony Siegle and Genevieve Noyes. (Russ Lay photo)

Nearby a turtle watch team was being briefed on how to keep tabs on the project and warn of any nest or turtle sightings. Teams of two will observe from dusk to dawn each day, said Christian Legner, one of the monitors.

Oakes was joined by Commissioner Anna Sadler as they witnessed the moment after more than a year of working through several different funding plans, permitting and finally a lawsuit over easements.

But the origins of the project go back since before 2007, when Nags Head voters rejected a referendum to pay an extra 5 cents in property tax to help fund the project. Oceanfront property owners would have paid even more.

Slurry that came out initially was probably sand still in the pipe from an earlier job. (Voice photo)

It started out as a Dare County project studied in the early 1990s and authorized by Congress in 1998. But it was never federally funded. With South Nags Head losing houses each year to erosion, the town decided to move ahead on its own.

By using its share of occupancy tax revenues as collateral, the town was able to borrow $18 million without going to the voters. Property owners townwide will pay an extra 2 cents per $100 of value to help pay the loan back over five years.

Owners in two special tax districts will pay another 16 cents. The rest will be covered by an extra 1 percent on the occupancy tax paid by visiting renters. Another $18 million will come from the Dare County Shoreline Management Fund.

The $34 million to $36 million project will cover 10 miles of beach with 4.6 million cubic yards of sand.

It is the first time a large-scale, engineered nourishment project has been attempted on the norther Outer Banks.

Plans are to work on 500 feet of beach daily to minimize the impact on summer renters.

A timeline for the work can be found here.

In the background, a section of beach had about tripled in width Monday. (Voice photo)


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Comments

Nancy

June 15, 2011 7:59 am

A good Cat 5 and you’ll see who is really in charge.

Kim

June 3, 2011 1:55 pm

Can anyone tell me what I can expect as a renter at MP 11.5 as far as beach conditions between July 30-Aug. 13? Thank you.

Bobby

June 1, 2011 9:17 pm

I know that the BOC would have liked to have used multiple beach nourishment solutions and were stone walled by the state. So, they did what they could and I am glad that they did. Why don’t the naysayers wait until their expert opinions become a reality if they ever do. Until then replenish on! If it doesn’t work then you can really look like experts, lol. If it does it still won’t stop your expert opinions will it?

sardonic humorist

June 1, 2011 5:15 am

Wow, ekim, you go man. Nicely done! @Barry, save me a spot, too-tia

Truck

May 30, 2011 4:07 pm

Its interesting that so many people are against beach nourishment but seem to be for dredging Oregon Inlet, however both go against nature. The sand will wash away from the beach and it will accumulate in the inlet. So……should we stop both ? The beach economy is many times the fishing boat trade, but both are institutions on the OBX. So….what’s the answer ? Save a lot of money and stop both ???????????

KHer

May 28, 2011 7:56 pm

I was on the beach, curious to see the results. The “new” sand is indistinguishable from the sand on the beach. And I was amazed at how much wider the beach was with the fresh sand.

Only time will tell if it works or not. But it has made an immediate difference.

Ray M.

May 28, 2011 6:49 pm

Let me see now. The sand from Nags Head has been washing down into Oregon Inlet and clogging it up for years…much longer than we can all remember.
OK…Virginia Beach has been dumping sand on their beaches for a long, long time and it disappears every year. Can anyone predict how long it will be before all that Virginia sand makes its way to the Outer Banks? Let’s hope it isn’t too soon because our beaches will be so wide the tourist won’t want to take the long walk to swim in the ocean. And, our economy will collapse!

ekim

May 28, 2011 1:16 pm

Barry B
A Republic is representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority (mob rule). A Republic recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals while democracies are only concerned with group wants or needs (the public good).

Facisim (e.g. dictatorship)is when people voted no to being taxed to take care of your property and our elected representatives (the commisioners) taxed us any way just for your back yard! So now we should be allowed to park in your driveway everyday to reap the benefits of our illegal tax. So go ahead and stripe that drive way so I can find my parking space! THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED AS A REPULIC NOT A DEMOCRACY! In the words of Ben Franklin: “This country was founded as a Republic, if you can keep it”

Any more questions my facist friend?

Butch

May 28, 2011 10:40 am

To everyone against beach nourishment…

It’s funny that everyone that lives here knows it won’t work

and you know -it’s all-a waste of money and because you have lived here all your life

You are all experts about the beach and so negative about beach nourishment

Are you all expert electricians –plumbers-carpenters –Because you own a home???

Only time will tell about the beach

Something had to be done!!!!

Native

May 27, 2011 11:34 pm

Let’s see how long all that lasts when a storm comes.

Sharon

May 27, 2011 4:07 pm

Question: Why is this project being done in the summer when it’s inconvenient for so many people?

Answer: So the extra sand can be on the beach in time to be washed away by autumn storms.

Barry Brockway

May 27, 2011 10:21 am

ekim, can you define facism for me? do you know the difference between a republic and a democracy?

Allan

May 27, 2011 6:51 am

@ Ray M.: Stop making sense! How will people maintain their blind faith in pouring money on the beach if they can’t believe that coastal dynamics works like kids with buckets and pails?

Ray M.

May 26, 2011 10:52 am

Can someone explain to me why, if Nags Head’s sand is migrating down to Oregon Inlet in such great volume, why isn’t sand from north of Nags Head washing down and replacing the sand lost from Nags Head? I’m waiting.

ekim

May 26, 2011 7:43 am

Barry the only leason our youth will learn is that facism is for just a few to benefit very few, This facist move will wash out just like communism. CLARE I wish you hadnt said that. NH voters dont forget this! this sand wont last a year then what?

One Question

May 26, 2011 7:20 am

Let me start with great job with out beaches we have nothing for people to come here for. WHY IS THAT DREDGE NOT SITTING IN ORGEN INLET PUMPING OUT THE CHANNEL AND PUMPING THE SAND ON THE BEACH? IF ITS SAND FROM SOUTH NAGS HEAD THAT IS PLUGGING UP THE INLET THEN THAT SAND WOULD HAVE WORKED. BUT I AM JUST A LOCAL WHAT DO I KNOW. Yes i heard them say its not compatable sand BS.

Clare B.

May 25, 2011 8:25 pm

This pretty much guarantees a hurricane for 2011.

Ray M.

May 25, 2011 5:52 pm

For some reason I can’t understand, the word “Edsel” keeps popping into my mind.

Maslin

May 25, 2011 4:50 pm

Barbara says: any updated pics from today?

Town website: http://www.townofnagshead.net/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={28108FFE-FC02-4A93-97CC-E3F4537C570D}

I have been posting videos here if anyone is interested: http://www.facebook.com/bnobx

Easy Come Easy Go

May 25, 2011 4:41 pm

I’m betting the ocean will persevere on this one….

Uncle Jack

May 25, 2011 4:30 pm

Aargh.

marlene

May 25, 2011 4:06 pm

Wow! Yippee! What a sight! The Mayor and Nags Head Council is to be commended for taking this positive action. And look, the sand is pretty, just imagine what the beaches will look like by Labor Day.

beachlover

May 25, 2011 3:47 pm

Being that I am a tax payer in the Town of Nags Head – I can’t stand that this is being done in this economy – so very sad, especially for something that will not work. If I was in Vegas – not betting my money on this, but now I am in Nags Head…. so sad.

Mother Nature

May 25, 2011 2:53 pm

I always win.

Barbara

May 25, 2011 1:20 pm

any updated pics from today?

MP20

May 25, 2011 9:18 am

It is absolutely wonderful to finally see this project begin! Kudos to the Town of Nags Head Board of Commissioners for all their effort in bringing this project to our beaches.

Barry Brockway

May 25, 2011 8:26 am

The word for the day is Perserverance. Thank You Mayor Oakes and the Town of Nags Head Commissioners. Thank You Warren Judge and the Dare County Commissioners for a job well done. Your foresight,ability to lead and strength of your convictions is greatly appreciated and a real lesson for the youth of Dare County.

Jeff

May 25, 2011 8:14 am

It’s a sad day in Nags Head.

ekim

May 25, 2011 7:27 am

It doesnt smell, give it a coupel days. Its interesting to watch NH RULE against the the peoples vote, Any bets on how soon the tax payers $$$ will wash away!

Roger

May 25, 2011 6:52 am

Mayor Oakes, when will work begin on the boardwalk?

comfortablybum

May 25, 2011 1:14 am

Quite a gamble. We will see how it pays off or doesn’t. I hope it works, but I am skeptical.

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