Beach renourishment set to begin along the coast

CARTERET COUNTY, NC (WITN) A portion of the Carteret County Occupancy tax is earmarked for beach re-nourishment, and with those funds available to them, the Shore Protection, starting in March, will be able to begin replenishing the beaches after the damage caused by Hurricane Florence.

Greg Rudolph with Shore Protection says compared to previous hurricanes, the damage caused by Florence was unprecedented.

“Irene we lost about 1.4 million cubic yards, Florence we lost 3.2 million cubic yards. So yeah, this was an unprecedented storm," said Rudolph.

Starting in March, Carteret County Shore Protection will begin work on the first of a two-phase project designed to re-nourish more than 900,000 cubic yards of sand. The project was one already in the works prior to Florence.

“We were really fortunate because we were planning a re-nourishment project about a year ago before Florence. So once Florence hit we just sort of re-configured things and were all ready to go with permitting and funding," Rudolph added.

The first phase, which will take approximately 60 days to complete, is expected to cost nearly $21 million.

Pine Knoll Shores Town Manager Brian Kramer says a portion of that money could come from FEMA. "The town is likely going to request from FEMA, a project between $10-14 million dollars, and there's no guarantee of a nickel of that."

The sand that will be used for this project will come from the Offshore Dredged Material Disposal Site just off the coast in Morehead City. Rudolph says its a 24/7 project until completion.

Officials also say that they hope to begin work on phase 2 of the project next winter, with still more than two-million cubic yards of re-nourishment to remain once phase one is complete.

One of the biggest impacts of the storm remains beach access points. Atlantic Beach will also begin work on a close to $100,000 public beach access point. A portion of which comes from $1.1 million in grant money awarded by Governor Cooper and the state.

"This one is particularly important because it's on the west end of town where we don't have a lot of other public accesses. There's a lot of homes that will access the beach through this access."