After Hurricane Florence, the landscape of the beaches along Bogue Banks changed dramatically. Many wooden access stairways were destroyed due to rising tidewater and multiple days of increased wave activity. Luckily for many oceanfront homeowners, the primary dune structures stood tall and stopped water from rushing under homes and onto neighboring streets. Looking back a little over a year later, a lot of effort has gone into making sure that these beaches are being properly restored for the thousands of locals and vacationers who enjoy them. Although wind has blown sand back to its natural area in front of the primary dune structures, the secondary dunes (also known as Baby Dunes) were wiped out over the prolonged hurricane period. The process of restoring the beaches back to normal and providing protection for future storm development is funded through various sources and managed by the Carteret County Shore Protection Agency (You can learn more about them by clicking the button below).
An example of a set of damaged steps from an oceanfront home leading to the beach.
Dredging of sand is the easiest way to facilitate the re-nourishment of the beach. It’s a complicated process, with multiple pieces of heavy machinery involved.
Dredging is the process of removing sand from the ocean floor and using it to replace lost sand along the beach strand. It’s a complicated and expensive project, but the results are immediate and the process flows relatively quickly once it gets going. Backhoes and other heavy equipment are stationed along the beach while the sand is pumped in for equal distribution along the dunes. In the case after Hurricane Florence, a majority of the dredged sand is used to replace the secondary dunes that were destroyed due to storm surge. Vegetative plants such as sea oats are planted along the secondary dune to increase the likelihood that this section of beach will withstand heavy winds and increased tidal range. Dune fencing is also normally placed in front of these secondary dunes, to help trap wind-blown sand to build up the barrier, and prevent people from walking along the precious surface while it continues to strengthen.
Phase I of the Post-Florence Beach Nourishment process was completed earlier this Spring/Winter, mainly along Indian Beach and the Eastern end of Emerald Isle. The improvements have held up well throughout the summer season, and dune grass is beginning to fully develop in some secondary dune areas. A contract has been confirmed for Phase II, which will include a long range in Pine Knoll Shores, and the area in Emerald Isle from Lands End to Sounds of the Sea condominiums. The dredging is scheduled to start mid-January and be completed with plenty of time left before the spring season. Take a look at the video below for an in-depth look at the current beach dune development along Bogue Banks. The video starts at ‘The Point’ of Emerald Isle and continues all the way down to Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach.