Mark Darrough / Port City Daily

NC - To fight extreme erosion, North Topsail Beach asks for jetty-like structure

ONSLOW COUNTY — With a shoreline that recedes as much as 100 feet a year, North Topsail Beach is in trouble.

The northernmost section of the 22-mile barrier island that includes Onslow and Pender counties has been clobbered by hurricanes and is under the constant threat of erosion.

To combat its eroding shoreline, the Town of North Topsail Beach is requesting a new master management plan the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) would administer, if approved.

Paying for the plan presents a different hurdle. Town officials are considering a local tax increase, weighing the options of whether oceanfront homeowners should be taxed more heavily than their inbound neighbors or even if a town or island-wide occupancy tax increase is feasible to help cover the cost of the federal project.

The current beach management work plan may not provide adequate protection for the north end over the next 20 years, according to project plans: “[T]he extreme severity of the erosional threat necessitates the need for immediate action . . .”

In 2013, nearly 1 mile of dredged sand placed on the northend washed away within a year. The next year the town was approved for emergency protections and installed sandbags bordering the inlet. To date, New River Inlet and the northern oceanfront is bordered by a 0.7-mile sandbag revetment — a short-term solution combatting an inevitable problem.

Now, the town is proposing to build a 2,021 foot-long terminal groin along the inlet.

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