Moor Shore Road on a dry summer day.
Moor Shore Road in Kitty Hawk is a pretty little stretch of road that parallels Kitty Hawk Bay. Local drivers use it to get around heavy traffic on the Bypass, although with it’s low speed limit and longer route, it's an open question if any time is saved.
If nothing else, it’s a pretty ride and a nice way to start or end a day.
It’s not always available though, because it floods and floods frequently.
Located along the northeast corner of Kitty Hawk Bay, and almost level with the waters of the Bay, it has always been prone to flooding, but conditions have been getting worse.
A heavy rain event accompanied by southwest winds will almost always close the road, and property owners along the southern end of Moor Shore, where the flooding is at its worse, started looking for solutions.
Moor Shore Road after a spring storm.
As it turns out, the North Carolina Coastal Federation (NCCF) has a living shoreline program that is ideal of the circumstances at that section of Kitty Hawk Bay.
Working with the town of Kitty Hawk, who has budgeted about $275,000 for the project, and property owners, the NCCF will install a living shoreline later this year.
Unlike bulkheads, revetments and other hardened forms of shoreline protection, a living shoreline uses the tools nature supplies to dissipate the force of waves. The key to a successful living shoreline is a healthy growth of subaquatic vegetation (SAV) that is native to the area.
There are a number of ways that growth of SAV can be stimulated, and that is still under study at Moor Shore, but if other experience of other living shorelines during even extreme weather events is an indicator, the road and property should be protected for some time.
Although hardened structures will give some protection to the property immediately behind it, a bulkhead does little to dissipate the energy in waves. That energy must flow to either side of the bulkhead, causing erosion or to the base of the structure causing scour.
Unlike hardened structures, a living shoreline causes little or no effects to the surrounding environment—and in some cases may enhance biological diversity of the area.