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  • Writer's pictureAl Friedman

Final Nags Head Beach Nourishment Update!

Nags Head's 10 mile-long beach nourishment project was completed early in the morning on Sunday, August 18, 2019 near Mile Post 17. Most of the equipment used during the project, such as the submerged line pictured here, has already been removed from the beach.

Final Update Regarding Nags Head's Beach Nourishment Project  

This will be the final update regarding our 2019 beach nourishment project. Thank you all again for your patience with this project. 

If you are in town this week, you may notice that the recent strong northeast winds and larger than normal surf is creating scarps (or ledges) along the beach. This is normal for nourished AND unnourished beaches and can still take place even several years after a nourishment project has been completed. However, the scarping is more pronounced now due to the recent nourishment. We expect this to continue this week as the northeast winds and high surf are forecasted to continue for a few more days.

Once the winds shift back to the southwest, the scarps will decrease. At the same time, our newly nourished beach will continue to be shaped by waves and currents, and gradually become similar to a natural beach in slope and elevation. 

Equilibration Beach nourishment is normally designed and constructed to take advantage of the natural forces, such as waves and currents, to move sand offshore. This process results in a natural sloping beach within the littoral zone (the area between the low and high tide lines), and is referred to as profile equilibration (or profile adjustment). The process of profile equilibration, which typically occurs within 12 months following sand placement (depending on storms), dramatically decreases the width of dry beach from the very wide beach observed immediately after nourishment. This decrease in beach width (profile equilibration) is often misunderstood as the failure of the beach nourishment project. For more information, read the American Shore and Beach Preservation white paper: Beach nourishment profile equilibration: What to expect after sand is placed on a beach. 

Beach Access Information The Gulfstream public beach access just south of Jennette's Pier near Mile Post 16.5 is now fully open.

The installation of sand fencing and sea oats is taking place in Nags Head's south end. The Juncos Street public beach access is still being used by the sand fencing/sprigging contractor, but the access remains open.

Once the beach nourishment equipment has been removed from the Forrest Street public beach access near Mile Post 15.5 on about Friday of this week, the parking lot will be re-opened; however, the sand fencing contractor will be staging some equipment in that lot, so some parking spots may be unavailable. We are sorry for the inconvenience, but this access has a gentle slope to move equipment on and off the beach and is conveniently located in the middle of our project area. 

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Sand fencing and sea oats being placed on Nags Head's newly nourished beach in south Nags Head on August 16, 2019.

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