(De)Stabilized Beaches?

Beautiful beaches like this one could be undermined by so-called stabilization projects.In 1979, erosion control structures first became regulated in NC; the initial regulations prohibited hardened structures for new developments, but those already in place could remain. But the ban changed in 1985. From that point on, all permanent erosion control devices were prohibited. Even the old ones had to go.

North Carolina’s policies against beach hardening have been (and are) frequently challenged, but state policies have gained broad public support and national recognition as responsible and far-sighted. Despite numerous attempts at eradicating the hardened structures ban, it survived well into the mid-1990’s and remained so popular that it passed into law in North Carolina General Statute 113A-115.1.

Currently, our state's beaches are having a tough time. As Duke Professor Emeritus Orrin Pilkey explains in the Fayetteville Observer:

North Carolina’s beaches face a lot of problems, including overdevelopment, rising sea level, rapid erosion rates, and a paucity of beach-compatible sand for beach replenishment...There is unanimous agreement among N.C. coastal geologists that mining of inlets, and groin or jetty emplacement, will likely create more problems than they solve. But our message is viewed by developers and politicians as negative, one that stands in the way of progress.
In a letter sent to NC legislators in the 2008 short session that opposed Senate Billl 599, which in theory allowed a "pilot program" of terminal groins off Figure 8 Island; practically, scientists urged regulators to look at the science; experiments have shown that that "control" technologies often damage adjacent beaches. SB 599 would have punched a sizable hole in North Carolina's science-based coastal management laws; oft-quoted and true, a common caution against beach "protection" and "renourishment" is that North Carolina doesn't want a coastline like New Jersey's. NC Sierra Club opposed SB 599 and recommends lawmakers reject any bill that threatens North Carolina’s proven, working coastal policies that prohibit beach hardening.


  1. I live in NJ and you do not want the mess we have! Herein NJ, the Coastal Engs. and the Army Corp. rule supreme and they have for the most part made a horrifying mess of it @ great expense to the taxpayers.

  2. That photo is gorgeous. Who took it?

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