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Beach Nourishment in North Carolina: Policies & Procedures. Charles Jones N.C. Division of Coastal Management January 24, 2002. What Is Beach Nourishment?.

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beach nourishment in north carolina policies procedures

Beach Nourishmentin North Carolina:Policies & Procedures

Charles Jones

N.C. Division of

Coastal Management

January 24, 2002

what is beach nourishment
What Is Beach Nourishment?
  • Generally defined as the placement of beach-compatible material on the ocean beach to mitigate the erosional impacts of storms and sea level rise.
It is usually done to create a wider beach area so as to protect infrastructure from future erosion events.
  • For the purpose of this discussion, beach disposal/spoiling projects will be grouped together within the context of beach nourishment projects.
crc policies
CRC Policies
  • - 15A NCAC 7M .0202 (Shoreline Erosion Policies)
  • (c) The replenishment of sand on ocean beaches can provide storm protection and a viable alternative to allowing the ocean shoreline to migrate landward threatening to degrade public beaches and cause the loss of public facilities and private property. Experience in North Carolina and other states has shown that beach restoration projects can present a feasible alternative to the loss or massive relocation of oceanfront development. In light of this experience, beach restoration and sand renourishment and disposal projects may be allowed when:
  • Erosion threatens to degrade public beaches and to damage public and private properties;
  • Beach restoration, renourishment or sand disposal projects are determined to be socially and economically feasible and cause no significant adverse environmental impacts;
  • The project is determined to be consistent with state policies for shoreline erosion response and state use standards for Ocean hazard and Public Trust Waters Areas of Environmental Concern and the relevant rules and guidelines of state and federal review agencies.
crc policies5
CRC Policies
  • 15A NCAC 7M .0202 (continued)
  • When the conditions set forth in this Paragraph can be met, the Coastal Resources Commission supports, within overall budgetary constraints, state financial participation in Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Wave Protection projects that are cost‑shared with the federal government and affected local governments pursuant to the federal Water Resources Development Act of 1986 and the North Carolina Water Resources Development Program (G.S. 143‑215.70‑73).
  • (d) The following are required with state involvement (funding or sponsorship) in beach restoration and sand renourishment projects:
  • The entire restored portion of the beach shall be in permanent public ownership;
  • It shall be a local government responsibility to provide adequate parking, public access, and services for public recreational use of the restored beach.
other relevant policies
Other Relevant Policies
  • Shoreline Access Policies (15A NCAC 7M .0300)
  • Policies on Beneficial Use and Availability of Materials Resulting from the Excavation or Maintenance of Navigation Channels (15A NCAC 7M .1100)
  • Policies on Ocean Mining (15A NCAC 7M .1200)
crc rules
CRC Rules
  • 15A NCAC 7H .0308(a)(3): Sand used for beach nourishment shall be compatible with existing grain size and type.
  • 15A NCAC 7H .0305(e): A pre-nourishment vegetation line shall be established and used for any future setback determination within the boundaries of a large-scale beach nourishment or spoil deposition project.
  • 15A NCAC 7H .0208(b)(8): Allows for the placement of materials obtained from dredging projects to be used for beach nourishment projects.
crc rules8
CRC Rules
  • 15A NCAC .0208(b)(12): Development standards for mining of submerged lands.
  • 15A NCAC 7H .0208(a)(3): Allows development that is in conflict with general or specific CRC use standards to be approved if the public benefits outweigh any long-range adverse impacts of the project, assuming that project impacts have been avoided, minimized or appropriately mitigated.
publicly sponsored projects
Publicly Sponsored Projects
  • Hurricane/Storm Protection Projects
    • Typically designed for 50 years.
    • Sand source is usually found in the inlet or offshore areas, but can include inshore navigational channels.
    • Corps of Engineers establishes construction line and acquires all private property seaward of that line. Construction line typically is above MHW line.
    • Pre-project vegetation line and MHW line are established and used in future permitting & public ownership decisions.
Hurricane/Storm-Protection Projects
    • Projects generally paid for by federal, state and local governments under a cost-sharing formula.
    • Local governments must provide adequate public access.
    • Projects are subject to National Environmental Policy Act, which require preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.
    • The Corps of Engineers has to determine that the proposed project is consistent with North Carolina’s Coastal Management Program, and the state must concur with this determination; however, no CAMA permit is required for these projects.
publicly funded projects
Publicly Funded Projects
  • Beach Disposal Associated with Federal Navigation Projects
    • Corps of Engineers’ practice is to incorporate the beneficial use of compatible dredge spoil material in their projects whenever possible.
    • The projects are usually small, short-term events with generally less than 30,000 cubic yards of material. The material usually doesn’t stay in place very long.
    • The material is usually associated with materials excavated from inlet crossings or from other work within the AIWW.
Beach Disposal for Federal Navigation Projects
    • The timing of disposal is based upon navigational needs and not as a response to erosion.
    • Since the volume of material is usually small, there are no requirements to survey in the first line of stable natural vegetation or MHW line.
    • Projects are subject to the NEPA process. Since the impacts are so small in nature, an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impacts usually satisfy this requirement.

There are a few exceptions to these disposal projects.

  • Morehead City Port’s Harbor Project
  • Wilmington Harbor Deepening Project
  • Oak Island Turtle Restoration (non-navigational)
  • Because of the magnitude of these projects, pre-project vegetation lines and mean high water lines will be used in determining future setbacks and public ownership issues.

700 Acre Habitat


Wilmington Harbor Deepening Project

34 Feet

New Hanover


Hilton RR Bridge

28 MI

38 Feet

Cape Fear

Memorial Bridge

30 Acre

Mitigation Site



42 Feet



Atlantic Ocean




6.2 Mile Passing

Lane 42’ x 600’


(Sunny Point)

Fort Fisher

Turn 6

42 Feet

Mouth of

Cape Fear River

44 Feet


Sea Turtle Habitat Restoration

Oak Island

Proposed Berm

  • Purpose: habitat restoration
  • Sponsor: Town of Oak Island

Proposed Profile

High Tide Level

Sea turtle hatchling

Existing Profile

Continuing Authorities Program, section 1135


Proposed Federal Activity

Federal agency determines if activity

will affect land or water use or resource of coastal zone.

Activity must be consistent with state coastal management program.

Agency submits

consistency determination

to state >90 days

prior to activity


Review Process

(if required)

Scoping letter issued;

state/federal agency

Early planning/coordination

on issues

Receipt of consistency determination

acknowledged; 45-day review period begins;

public notification occurs

Proposal circulated to state agencies

for comment

Draft or final EA/EIS

submitted; includes

consistency determination

State agency comments taken

to develop state consistency position

Federal agency agrees

to conditions of concurrence

State disagrees with

consistency determination

State agrees with

consistency determination

Project modified

State and federal agency

have additional 45 days

to resolve issues informally

Federal agency

may proceed with project

Mediation through

U.S. Commerce Secretary

publicly funded projects19
Publicly Funded Projects
  • Locally Funded Projects
    • Federal government is not involved with any cost sharing. The projects are usually done as a temporary measure until the locality can become eligible for a federally sponsored project.
    • Sand source is usually found in the inlet or offshore areas, but suitable material also may be obtained from upland disposal locations and navigation channels.
    • The pre-project vegetation line and MHW line are established and used in future permitting and public ownership decisions.
Locally Funded Projects
    • The CRC’s Shoreline Erosion Policy requiring adequate public access is not mandated if federal or state funding is not used.
    • Projects that utilize borrow material from the aquatic environment and are not part of an approved navigational project must comply with the N.C. Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), which parallels NEPA requirements.
    • CAMA and Dredge & Fill permits are required.
privately funded projects
Privately Funded Projects
  • Historically rare.
  • Majority of material is obtained from navigational channels and upland disposal sites.
  • Based upon size and potential impacts, projects are typically subject to SEPA.
  • Based upon the size of the project, the pre-project vegetation line may be established and used for future setback purposes.
  • Because no public money is used, the ownership of the newly created beach area is not statutorily established as with publicly funded projects.
  • CAMA and Dredge & Fill permits are required for these projects.
review agencies

State Property Office

Archives and History

Community Assistance

DOT Highway Division

Environmental Health

Water Quality

Land Resources

Marine Fisheries

Water Resources



Army Corps of Engineers

Environmental Protection Agency

National Marine Fisheries Service

Fish and Wildlife Service

Review Agencies
beach nourishment issues
Beach Nourishment Issues
  • Inlet/channel relocation has entered the nourishment mix with recent projects.
beach nourishment issues25
Beach Nourishment Issues
  • Cumulative and long-term impacts to coastal resources are difficult to quantify.
beach nourishment issues26
Beach Nourishment Issues
  • Adequacy of public-access requirements.
beach nourishment issues27
Beach Nourishment Issues
  • Difficulty of finding suitable material and borrow sites.