Posted in:

Avon A Step Closer to Renourishment Project

Dare County is considering a beach renourishment project for Avon. Photo: Island Free Press

Reprinted from Island Free Press

A potential beach renourishment project in Avon took a step forward at the Feb. 4 meeting of the Dare County Board of Commissioners when the Board unanimously selected Coastal Science and Engineering to submit a contract for a feasibility study.

County Manager Bobby Outten explained to the Board that the Capital Improvements Planning Committee had received three responses from potential companies willing to orchestrate the study, all of which had conducted similar projects in the Outer Banks region before. Renourishment is the process of pumping sand onto an eroding shoreline to widen the existing beach.

“We’re lucky that we had three excellent contenders, and we had three groups that can certainly do the work. We would certainly be satisfied with any of them,” said Outten.

The committee chose Coastal Science and Engineering to conduct the study, as they had previous experience on Hatteras Island, and had performed the Buxton Beach Nourishment project in 2017 and 2018.

“That group has some familiarity with our beaches down there,” said Outten. “It was convenient for them, convenient for us, and it just made sense. They have also worked with the Park Service and have that familiarity, and they’ve also met with the public in the past with (the Buxton) project, as well as with people from Avon.”

As such, the Capital Improvement Planning Committee made the ensuing recommendation to the commissioners to select Coastal Science and Engineering for the upcoming study. “If you select them today, I will call [them] after the meeting, and they will forward us that contract,” said Outten. “Hopefully, we will be have that contract before our next meeting for you to approve… the study can then start once we’ve approved that contract at the (next) meeting.”

The motion to approve Coastal Science and Engineering was made by Hatteras Island Commissioner Danny Couch, and was unanimously passed by the board.

The county provides funding for beach nourishment projects through its Beach Nourishment Fund. A portion of the 6% Dare County Occupancy Tax, derived from visitor accommodations, is set aside for the fund annually. Funds for beach nourishment are also provided by property and municipal service district taxes.

At the Nov. 4 meeting, the board first agreed to allocate up to $250,000 from the Beach Nourishment Fund to pay for an upcoming study to examine the details and costs of initiating a beach nourishment project in Avon. The allocation for an Avon study corresponded with a similar request for study-related funds from Southern Shores, which is also considering a beach nourishment project in the near future.

The study would target the general Ocean View Drive area of Avon, which is about a 2-mile stretch of shoreline that has been subjected to regular ocean overwash during recent nor’easters and storms.

When these storms occur, overwash pours onto Ocean View Drive and then inundates N.C. 12 with saltwater, which is just a couple of lots away from the neighboring beaches.

During the most nor’easter that occurred in mid-November, N.C. 12 was repeatedly flooded during multiple high-tide cycles over the course of three days.

Advocates hope that beach renourishment could be a possible solution to this regular erosion and flooding. The beach nourishment project that was recently completed in Buxton in February of 2018 deposited 2.6 million cubic yards of sand on a 2.9-mile stretch of Buxton shoreline, and a maintenance project at the site is scheduled for 2021-2022.

This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review Online is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast. 

About the Author

Joy Crist

Joy Crist is a Hatteras Island resident since 1998 and a writer and columnist with the Island Free Press. Her work has also appeared in a number of regional Outer Banks and statewide websites and publications.