Work on the coastal storm damage reduction project on the beaches of Pleasure Island is continuing, and Carolina Beach is now receiving sand in addition to Kure Beach.
After bad weather caused some delays early in the project, which began in Kure Beach in January, good weather over the last few weeks has allowed Marinex Corporation, the contractor, to make good progress. A second dredger has been brought in so that work could be done simultaneously in the two towns after concerns were raised that the project, also known as beach nourishment, would not be done before the environmental window closes on April 30. Turtle nesting season begins on May 1, and contractors will be fined if they work past that date.
“At this time, an extension to complete work on either Kure Beach or Carolina Beaches is not anticipated,” the Town of Carolina Beach said in a news release. “However, if bad weather conditions or equipment failures occur, there could be a need to dredge and pump beyond the April 30 deadline.”
Sand on the beaches of the two Pleasure Island towns is currently replenished every three years (Wrightsville Beach is on a four-year cycle). Before the project began, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the work, announced that Kure and Carolina Beaches would get more sand than originally anticipated due to the amount of damage the island’s shores received during last year’s extremely rainy season. The island was one of the hardest hit areas in the county during Hurricane Joaquin‘s brush with the North Carolina coast.
Coastal storm damage reduction projects are currently co-funded by the federal, state and local governments. However, Carolina Beach’s contract with the federal government will run out after this cycle, and they and the other beach towns are trying to find solutions to pay for future sand projects without raising taxes on residents. New Hanover County has jumped in and hired lobbyists to garner support both in Raleigh and Washington, D.C., and both Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach recently adjusted their parking rules to gain more revenue during the busy summer season.