An aerial view of Holden Beach. Photo: Francisbausch/Creative Commons

NC - Holden Beach, Corps begin $3M storm risk planning study

A three-year study is underway in Holden Beach that could set the tone for how future beach projects may be funded.

The town has signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to launch a coastal storm risk management feasibility study, one that will determine whether it’s in the federal government’s interest to take part in planning coastal storm risk plans for the town for up to 50 years.

An Aug. 27 signing ceremony between the Corps and Holden Beach officially kicked off the study, which is budgeted to cost up to $3 million, according to Emily Winget, a public affairs specialist in the Corps’ Wilmington District.

Funding for the study is being split 50-50.

Winget said in an email responding to questions that $500,000 was initially allocated for the study in the Corps’ Fiscal 2021 Work Plan. More funding has been requested for future budget cycles, she said.

“The Holden Beach, N.C. Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) Project General Reevaluation Study will scope and analyze alternatives for Federal participation in cost shared coastal storm risk management measures over a project life up to 50 years,” Winget wrote in the email. “We will be looking at all possible alternatives that provide a benefit (reduced risk) to Holden Beach.”

Such alternatives will include routine beach nourishment, dune enhancement and repair, as well as public education, resilient town building codes and other “non-structural measures.”

“The study will analyze an array of alternatives (list to be determined), trying to find a project that maximizes benefits as compared to overall cost,” Winget said. “Specifically, the study will be determining if we can identify a project with ‘Federal Interest’ that reduces the risk to coastal storms at Holden Beach.”

The Brunswick County town’s entire 8-mile-long ocean shoreline will be included in the study.

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