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Carolina Beach Getting More Sand During Beach Nourishment Project

Contractors continue to work around the clock on the Carolina Beach and Vicinity (Area South) storm damage reduction project. Currently, Kure Beach is receiving sand pumped from the R.N. Weeks Dredge and sculpted to various elevations by heavy equipment. The project is expected to be completed by mid-April. (USACE photo by Hank Heusinkveld)

Managing Editor

PLEASURE ISLAND - The beach nourishment project for Kure Beach should be completed by mid April and the Carolina Beach project may be extended through mid to late May. The Kure Beach project was originally scheduled for completion by March 31 and by April 30 in Carolina Beach.
Crews working for Weeks Marine began beach nourishment last month in Kure Beach. A large hopper dredge has become a regular sight just off shore traveling from a "borrow site" to load up with sand and then transporting it to a pipeline that leads to the shore where the sand is distributed based on an engineered survey.
The same company was scheduled to begin beach nourishment in Carolina Beach on March 15th but that date has been delayed until early April. A large pipe will run from a pipeline dredge at the Carolina Beach Inlet south to the area of the Carolina Beach Fishing Pier at the end of Carolina Beach Avenue North. From there the sand will be distributed south along the beachfront via the pipeline.
Good news for Carolina Beach, the original estimates called for pumping 680,000 to 750,000 cubic yards of sand onto the beach. New estimates, based on surveys and current erosion, is 950,000 cubic yards of sand.
It will also pump 432,000 cubic yards on to Kure Beach from the southern beach in Carolina Beach to an area north of the Kure Beach Pier. Another section is south of that pier where crews are currently working.
Robert Keistler, PE, Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Wilmington District, said Tuesday the initial schedule was for Week's Marine to complete beach nourishment in Kure Beach by March 31st and move to Carolina Beach to complete that project by April 30.
Due to mechanical delays at a neighboring project at Bald Head Island to remove sand from shoals leading into the Wilmington Harbor and place that material on the beach, the Carolina Beach project has been delayed.
For the Kure Beach project, two hopper dredges were set for the project, but due to mechanical issues, only one dredge was operating.
Keistler said Tuesday the plan now is for the Kure Beach project to be completed by mid April and the Carolina Beach project by mid to late May.
He said the environmental window of time to complete the project in Kure Beach is different from Carolina Beach because hopper dredge vessels are more likely to encounter endangered sea turtles than a pipe line dredge drawing sand from within an inlet area.
That's why Kure Beach originally was set to be done by March 31 and Carolina Beach by April 30 due to the sea turtle nesting season begining around that time.
Keistler said an extension was granted by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) for Kure Beach and they are awaiting an extension for the Carolina Beach project.
Keistler said in Carolina Beach the contractor has already started monitoring the beach for sea turtles and nests and are taking steps to protect the turtles both during and after the project is completed.
Keistler said the hope was to be off of the beach by the time tourists started heading out for vacation.
He said, "We would definitely like to be off the beach by the next holiday weekend, Memorial Day.
Keistler said he will attend the April 9th Carolina Beach Town Council meeting to educate citizens and answer any questions that may arise.
Leaders in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach received good news in early December, the Army Corp of Engineers located additional funding from another project to provide $9.3 million for beach nourishment in both Towns.
As a part of the federally sponsored Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project in place for the two communities, $4,681,500 will be invested on Carolina Beach and $4,635,550 will be invested on Kure Beach.
The funds were approved by Congress in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012.
The Town of Carolina Beach was recently informed that in order to ensure future funding they would have to come up with approximately $500,000 a year in the absence of state and federal funding.