This week the NC Coastal Resources Commission will make a recommendation on hardened sea structures to the NC General Assembly. The NC Sierra Club is urging the commission to uphold the states historic ban on terminal groins and other hardened structures. Proposed legislation would create an exception and allow terminal groins to be built in order to protect beach front property. Unfortunately, the construction of these terminal groins will accelerate the erosion of public beaches further down shore. While eroding public access beaches, the groins will also destroy habitats for sea turtles and migratory birds. Especially the piping plover, an endangered species which has a number of designated critical habitats along our coast.
The policy shift could also encourage residential and commercial development on highly unstable inlets. If you combine this development with the CRC's report detailing that NC sea levels could rise 1 meter by 2100, it's easy to conclude that the environmental and fiscal risk could be detrimental to the public. A third party study, conducted at the direction of the legislature, also failed to provide any evidence to overturn the ban.
This historic ban has long kept our coastline natural and protected our beaches for public use, changing course now due to political pressure is not the answer. We find it critical that the CRC uphold this ban in order to protect our coast for years to come.