Damaged stairs and a high tide mark at the dune line at Pelican's Watch in Southern Shores.

It’s looking more and more as though Southern Shores is going to authorize beach nourishment at the southern tip of the town at Pelican’s Watch.

Already retreating significantly over the past few years, when Hurricane Matthew brushed the Outer Banks, the beach disappeared. Attempts to push sand back and create a protective dune line have failed.

The beach that needs nourishment is only about 1500’ in length and was already designed  to be a taper zone for the Kitty Hawk project slated to begin this summer. 

After Matthew passed, beginning in November, town council started to consider nourishment, hoping to piggyback on the Kitty Hawk project.

If the town can do so, the savings would be immense; because equipment is already mobilized for the Outer Bank project, there would be no additional charges for Southern Shores to bring dredges or sand moving equipment to the site. 

The Dare County nourishment project that currently includes Duck, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills is being funded through an interlocal agreement with the County. The cost is being shared equally.

Southern Shores was not part of the original agreement, but at the February 8 County Commissioner’s meeting, the Commissioners voted to provide up to $500,000 for Southern Shores.

The town has authorized a study of the area and has begun the permitting process. They have not yet, however, voted to move the project forward.

If the town does not vote to move forward with nourishment at this time, the next opportunity to cooperate with a local town would be in 2019 when Nags Head will replenish their nourished beaches. The savings, however, would not be nearly so great at that time because Nags Head is not immediately adjacent to Southern Shores.