Drone footage taken April 27 in Emerald isle shows renourishment work for the $28.2 million phase 2 project to repair Hurricane Florence’s damage to the beach in 2018.
Planting sea oats on dunes will begin this week now that the final load of sand has been delivered to west Emerald Isle, which wrapped up the beach renourishment work for phase II of the project.
The first phase of the Hurricane Florence renourishment project was completed in April 2019 at a cost of about $20 million. About 1 million cubic yards of sand was distributed in Phase 1 in parts of Emerald Isle, Indian Beach and Salter Path, according to a previous report.
Between this and last year’s project, 14 miles total have been renourished, or about 3 million cubic yards, at a cost of nearly $50 million.
Greg Rudolph of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office told Coastal Review Online Monday that there are several phases of the project and, having completed the sand pumping that started Feb. 8 and ended Wednesday, they will begin planting sea oats this week on the dunes.
Planting the little over 600,000 plants will be done using mechanical planting on the flat part of the dune and the slope will be completed by hand by the subcontractor, Coastal Transplants of Bolivia. The process of planting the sea oats should end around July, he explained.
Rudolph said one of the challenges in the sea oats being able to thrive is keeping folks off the dunes after the sea oats are planted and haven’t had a chance to flourish. The plants are used to help with erosion and protect the $28 million investment.
Rudolph estimated that more than 2 million cubic yards of sand total was placed along the 9.5 miles of beach in West Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path and West Emerald Isle during the recently completed phase of the project.
“That’s roughly the equivalent of 166,700 dump trucks’ worth of sand, or enough sand to extend the footprint of a regulation NBA basketball court over 2 miles into the sky,” Rudolph said in a statement. “Great Lakes Dredge & Dock did a great job, and overcame challenges associated with internal and external COVID-19 precautions with 100% professionalism.”
Rudolph said in an interview he was pleased with the progress, so far.
“COVID-19 provided challenges for us,” he explained, but Great Lakes took preventative measures early on to protect the crew and did a great job to make sure the project was completed in time.
The dredging was finished by the May 1 deadline but there is still some equipment on the beach. He said they were able to get an extension until May 7 to have the equipment removed.
No dredging is permitted between May 1 through Nov. 15 to protect nesting sea turtles, without prior approval from the Division of Coastal Management, in coordination with the state Wildlife Resources Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Army Corps of Engineers.
Next year, plans are to work on the central stretch of Emerald Isle that hasn’t been addressed, he said.
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