Nags Head sticks with plan to wait a year for re-nourishment

By on May 3, 2018

Nourishment takes place in summer to avoid storms. (Voice photo)

The Nags Head Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to put off until 2019 the planned re-nourishment of 10 miles of beachfront, after bids came in well over the $34 million budget for doing the project this year.

Great Lakes Dock and Dredge, which handled the 2011 nourishment project for Nags Head and last year’s sand pumping from Duck to Kill Devil Hills, was the low bidder for the new Nags Head project with their proposal of $36,644,500.

Re-nourishment will not include northern parts of the Nags Head beach that did not get sand originally. It will encompass the same 10 miles from Bonnett Street at Milepost 11 south to the town line at Milepost 21.

Bids were received in March. The plan approved Wednesday was among several options and the one that would keep the town closest to its budget for the project.

At their meeting April 4, commissioners opted to wait for a final decision on when to start until a funding scenario was determined to borrow the additional $16 million. With most of the funding now in place, and dropping the total amount of sand by 300,000 cubic yards, the town and Great Lakes are now scheduled to sign a contract next month.

Nags Head will pay for most of the new sand pumping using a combination of funds from the town’s beach nourishment fund and borrowing money by issuing municipal bonds.

The nourishment fund is a combination of a town-wide tax on all properties and Nags Head’s portion of Dare County’s occupancy tax on hotel rooms and vacation rentals.

A special tax district that covers oceanside properties was reinstated this year, and will be used to pay off the bonds that will not exceed $12 million according to a resolution that was also approved Wednesday.

That will cover the costs for 2.3 million cubic yards of sand volume.

Another 1.4 million cubic yards would be funded by a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant of up to $16 million that has yet to be awarded.

That FEMA money would come from a pot designated for Hurricane Matthew relief efforts, and will likely be formalized when the town is closer to the start of construction around May 2019.

The town has provided FEMA with survey results every six months that showed minimal losses and some gains along the northern parts of the beach until Matthew.

A survey shortly after the October 2016 storm indicated that the shoreline had lost a third of the sand — 1.43 million cubic yards — from the original project.

Town officials hope that FEMA will reimburse Nags Head for the cost of restoring the beach to the contour recorded in a June 2016 survey, when about 90 percent of the sand remained in the system.

FEMA considers the beach and nearshore out to 19 feet in depth.

Bids from four companies were opened in late March, and ranged from $52 to $94 million to get the job done in 2018, and $36 to $86 million the following year, based on pumping a total of 4 million cubic yards.

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Agree with the plan, in 50 years the sea level on the Outer Banks will maybe be a foot higher (it was a foot lower 100 years ago). Good luck raising enough tax money for nourishment to counteract that. For the next 20 or 30 years, every coastal community will try until they realize they are all just driving up the cost of dredging by competing with each other for that increasingly hopeless service. Instead, we could be spending the tax money acquiring marginal oceanfront properties and thereby increasing public access, and giving tourists a more open and natural beach… Read more »

Agree with the plan

Would love to hear the long term “fixes” that all of the comments contrairians would have. You live in a beach community the beach is going away and will have to be replaced forever or there will be no beach… this is not cheap and will not get cheaper…. as a homeowner and taxpayer I am all for replenishment as it protects my value and home.

Why Not

Since this seems to be a ongoing venture that has no end, the towns could buy the dredge and use it as needed. When not being used lease it to other towns.


the intellect of local know-it-alls-in-charge never ceases to amaze me…good luck trying to restrain mother nature


Its true you really cant fix stupid ! It doesnt matter if its this year or the next without a long term fix you might as well save everybody time and trouble and just throw the money off the end of the pier !!!
The money would be of far better use in our school system in an ” English Immersment Program ” !!!


Those of us in north Nags Head would like to thank the taxpayers of Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and Southern Shores. Our beaches are wider and less steep than they’ve been in years as the sand sprayed on your beaches last summer migrates south. Of course our bounty is only temporary. Soon enough we’ll be back to narrow, steep beaches and all be paying again to have the same sand dredged out of Oregon Inlet.


I am glad they restrained from blowing the extra money on the sand to get it done this year. It’s all a big waste of money so paying as little as possible for it is prudent.

Since they are in the business of moving sand why not enter into a long-term contract with the Great Lakes Dock and Dredge to lock in a price and continue to have it done. Now that the train has left the station on replenishment the town might as well get the best price.


I stood on the beach in Kitty Hawk and thought it was incredible after the latest beach improvement. Three weeks later all the beach expansion was gone..3 weeks !!

Why are towns wasting tax dollars ?