Imagine walking along the beach, feeling the sun on your face, and listening to the sound of Waves crashing on the shore. It's a perfect day! Did you know that beach nourishment is one way to help preserve these idyllic scenes? By pumping sand from offshore sandbars onto the shoreline, existing beaches are widened, creating an added barrier of protection to shorelines that have experienced significant erosion.
Beach nourishment is more than just preserving the beach, though; it also helps prevent damage to property and infrastructure in exposed areas. To keep up with the ongoing management of these projects, the Outer Banks recently completed their most recent round of nourishment in 2022. The work runs 24 hours/day during the project and moves fairly quickly, with equipment and weather playing important roles in the project's dynamic scheduling.
A dredge is used to pump sand through sublines onto the beach, and bulldozers are used to spread the sand. Once the beach nourishment project is completed, new sand fencing is usually installed, and native sprigs are planted to further stabilize the dune line along the freshly nourished beach.
The beach will be much wider just after construction, and while up to half of the visible beach is expected to equilibrate in the months following the end of a nourishment project, the ultimate goal of the project is to create a gradual slope underwater. This slope causes wave energy to dissipate further offshore, protecting coastal infrastructure.
Good news for beachgoers! The Outer Banks has announced its beach nourishment schedule for 2023. The project will include the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head. The schedule is subject to change due to weather and other factors, but the Town of Duck has announced that their portion of the project will begin in the spring of 2023 and take 25-30 days to complete. The project area is located between Skimmer Way and the Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility property to the south, approximately 1.6 miles long. We are so happy these beautiful beaches will receive the nourishment they need to continue providing endless hours of fun in the sun. So, the next time you visit the beach, take a moment to appreciate the beauty around you, knowing that beach nourishment projects are hard at work preserving and protecting these natural wonders.