You are here

13 Jan 2022
Related Items: 

Three years after completing the last beach nourishment project in 2019, the town of Nags Head just awarded an $11.6 million contract to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company to nourish the beach in South Nags Head.

South Nags Head has one of the most dynamic stretches of beach on the northern Outer Banks with beach retreat 9-10’ per year in along some stretches of oceanfront property. Properly speaking, the beach retreats, but is not eroded because the sand is moved and deposited in another location.

The project will begin sometime in late spring or early summer of this year. Although a tentative schedule will be published, town officials and Great Lakes Dredge management stress that any schedule is tentative. Past Outer Banks nourishment projects have run longer than anticipated because of weather delays.

Beach nourishment is a more sophisticated process than many people realize. Sand is mined from offshore resources and a common sight during beach nourishment is a dredge 300 or 400 yards from the beach. The most efficient way to get the sand to the shore is to pump it.

If there is no sand available within the length of a feasible pumping operation, sand will be loaded onto hopper barges and brought to shore—a slower and more expensive process.

It is important for the sand granules to match. If the sand is too big, it will simply roll off the beach. Too small and it will filter through the existing sand, and that sand will be taken out to sea.

There is a planned loss of sand in a nourishment project. A significant portion of the loss will form sandbars that are the first line of protection for the beach and property behind it. Although beach nourishment does create a wider beach, it’s primary purpose is infrastructure and property protection.

The 2022 Nags Head project will begin just south of Jennette’s Pier and include all of South Nags Head to the end of Old Oregon Inlet Road.

The Outer Banks is a dynamic and beautiful place to live and visit. Come and stay with us for a week or two at Brindley Beach Vacations.