BEACH PRESERVATION PLAN
Carteret County’s Beach Preservation Philosophy hinges upon sand management principles aimed to keep sand within the beach and inlet system. This overall premise has been coupled in the past with a host of beach fill, beneficial use of dredged material, and inlet management projects that comprised a set of short-range efforts (Tier II) that were aimed to provide adequate protection until the more comprehensive Bogue Banks Beach Master Nourishment Plan or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Shore Protection Project (Tier I) can be implemented. This management strategy is summarized below, and detailed summaries are available for each project (either constructed or planned) by clicking on the links provided along the left hand margin or underlined in blue below.
View Summary: Nourishment Chronology
The Bogue Banks Beach Master Nourishment Plan (Master Plan) was formally initiated in 2010 when the County retained Moffatt & Nicholto develop a comprehensive, multi-decadal nourishment program using objective parameters to gauge beach health and trigger future nourishment events for the entire 25-mile long island of Bogue Banks. Consistent with the development of a regional plan, the County is concomitantly pursuing a programmatic environmental document to facilitate the Master Plan. Ideally, nourishment activities performed in accordance with those specified in the Master Plan will be permitted through a much more streamlined process than conducting projects on a “one-time per one-time basis” with no attachment to a comprehensive plan or coordination of the environmental protection of coastal resources. The environmental firm of Dial & Cordy is serving as a third party contractor to the Corps of Engineers regulatory branch, which is the Federal agency ultimately responsible for developing the Environmental Impact Statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The anticipated completion date for the Master Plan effort (engineering report, environmental document, and final permit decision) is mid 2013.
The Master Plan will evaluate present-day beach conditions, review and reassess the effectiveness of our beach nourishment projects constructed the past decade (Tier II projects), and develops a new nourishment plan based on volumetric/beach elevation thresholds for Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach/Salter Path, and Emerald Isle. We’re assuming Atlantic Beach’s and Ft. Macon’s nourishment needs will be met by utilizing dredged material emanating from the Morehead City Harbor Federal Navigation Project. However, Atlantic Beach is included in the overall effort as a contingency wing of the Master Plan and in the spirit of developing a regional nourishment plan. If Federal operation & maintenance funding for the Morehead City Harbor dissipates in the future, then the needs for Atlantic Beach will even be more pressing and again warrant participation in regional planning. The Master Plan will also outline an idealized sequence of nourishment events and sources of sand; however, the temporal and spatial extent of nourishment will be triggered by need, and will not be anchored to a “hard” timeline. The Environmental Impact Statement will address short-term, long-term, and cumulative impacts, and offsetting measures that would be adhered to by the applicant (County). From other practical standpoints, it is also anticipated the Master Plan will satisfy; (1) FEMA requirements to remain eligible for reimbursing the cost of replacing sand lost during a Federally-declared disaster, and (2) serve as municipalities’ 30-year nourishment program, which will help communities retain s that have been approved by the State of North Carolina.
**The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Shore Protection Project** is a Civil Works project (explained here), which is designed and partially funded by the Corps. It is often referred to as the “50-year project” because the nourishment effort includes initial construction and subsequent periodic maintenance for 50 years. The Corps is currently in the Feasibility Phase (or study phase) of the project – the Feasibility Agreement was signed in 2001 and the study was stipulated to cost ~$3.3 million total and be completed in four years. The Study is now over five years overdue and roughly $1.7 million over budget. Additionally, the Federal government has provided almost no funding for beach nourishment construction/maintenance activities across the Country the past several years. Obviously the prospects for this effort are not looking favorable at the present moment, but the project is still being pursued.
The following map and table depicts the chronology, location, and volumes associated with the “Tier II” nourishment projects. These projects were either; (a) predominantly 100% locally-funded and utilized offshore borrow sources or Bogue Inlet as a source of sand, (b) 100% or partially funded by the Federal government and involved either actively or previously disposed dredged material from the Morehead City Harbor Navigation Project, or (c) projects that were reimbursed by FEMA and used offshore disposal areas (also associated with Morehead City Harbor dredging). Categorical summaries of the larger-scale efforts under the Tier II umbrella are provided below as well.
View Graphic: Tier II Extent Map
View Table: Volume Summary
(1) The Bogue Banks Restoration Project was a local initiative totaling approximately $33 million. The entire project consisted of an ~16.8-mile stretch of Bogue Banks extending from the Atlantic Beach (AB)/Pine Knoll Shores (PKS) town boundary westward, to approximately one mile east of Bogue Inlet. The project, for the most part, was sponsored by the Towns of PKS, Indian Beach (IB), and Emerald Isle (EI) in conjunction with Carteret County. The project was constructed in three distinct phases. "Phase I" represented the PKS/IB Joint Restoration Project that was constructed in 2001-02, "Phase II" represented the Eastern EI Restoration Project (2002-03), and "Phase III" represented the Western EI Restoration Project that entailed the realignment of Bogue Inlet and the use of the shoal material dredged during this realignment event for beach restoration along the westernmost 4.5 miles of EI. This project was constructed in winter 2005. The links above for Phase I, II, and III provide project reviews delineating design and construction parameters for each phase of the effort.
(2) The Corps' Dredge Disposal to Eastern Bogue Banks Project is part of the Corps' least-cost dredge disposal policy related to the Morehead City Harbor Federal Navigation Project and continues to be implemented at no cost to the County or local municipalities. The geographic range of the project is the Fort Macon State Park and AB reaches of Bogue Banks. Prior to 2010, sediment that was dredged from the inner harbor was stockpiled on Brandt Island (located northwest of Fort Macon) and subsequently discharged ("pumped out") to the beaches every eight to ten years to provide accommodation space for future dredge spoils. The last pump out occurred in winter 2004-05. This “sand recycling” effort was discontinued in the late 2000’s.
(3) Carteret County also sponsored a USACE Section 933 Project throughout most of the 2000s that was implemented concurrently with annual maintenance dredging activities associated with the ocean bar reach, or Outer Harbor, of the Morehead City Harbor Federal Navigation Project. Similar to the Corps' Shore Protection Project, this project has a Federal/non-Federal cost sharing schedule for the incremental cost to place sand in areas that are not incorporated within the Corps' least cost disposal option (offshore disposal). Costs associated with routine maintenance dredging and least-cost disposal planning are a 100% Federal cost. The first phase of the Section 933 Project was completed in 2004 and placed ~700,000 cubic yards or dredged material along the shorelines of IB, Salter Path, and the westernmost 2,200 feet of PKS. The second phase was completed in 2007 and nourished the eastern and central portions of PKS while dovetailing into the easternmost extent of the 2004 Section 933 Project. Besides realizing the beneficial use of dredged materials at the Morehead City Harbor and incorporating sand management principles on a regional scale, the Section 933 Project is also served as an insurance measure for Phase I of the Bogue Banks Restoration Project that was completed in 2002.
MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR SAND MANAGEMENT
Perhaps the most critical shore preservation/protection issue for Bogue Banks is the current dredged material disposal practices employed at the Morehead City Harbor Federal Navigation Project. Since 1933, over 50 million cubic yards (mcy) of sediment have been dredged from the outer harbor and disposed of 1 to 2.5 miles offshore under the confines of the Corps least-cost dredge disposal policy. Until recently, approximately one million cubic yards of sediment is displaced offshore annually. This one year total is the equivalent of almost 67,000 dump trucks of sand. The consequences of poor dredged material handling have adversely impacted adjacent coastal environments by essentially depriving the natural sediment supply, thereby affecting the ability for alongshore transport processes to feed adjacent beaches.
In 1994, a Corps Section 111 Feasibility Report was requested by Pine Knoll Shores to determine if damages to the beach can be directly attributable to the Federal Navigation Project. Unfortunately in 2001 and despite body of evidence contained in the report demonstrating impacts to the ebb tide delta and adjacent shorefaces, the Corps determined that the "…shoreline change rates for the Town of Pine Knoll Shores were basically the same for the period with the navigation project as for the period prior to the navigation project". Therefore mitigation by the Corps was not warranted. Consequently, the Beach Commission retained Olsen Associates from Jacksonville, Fla. in 2004 to prepare a comprehensive report to critique the Corps Section 111 Report, delineate sand management issues, and prepare a series of recommendations. The report was completed in 2006 (see below) and continues to be one of the foundations of the Beach Commission's shore protection efforts. The Corps is currently developing a Dredged Material Management Plan to address long term dredging and disposal issues at the harbor that encapsulates a twenty year time horizon. This report is due October 2011, and is part of a legal settlement the Corps and Carteret County agreed to in December 2008.