Mid-Atlantic
This graphic/aerial map shows the Emerald Isle area experts consider most likely to breach during a major hurricane. (Carteret County graphic)

North Carolina: County completes pre-storm beach surveys, ready to measure erosion

EMERALD ISLE — Carteret County Shore Protection Office Manager Greg Rudolph said Wednesday all “assets are in place” to ensure that if Hurricane Dorian appears to cause significant beach erosion when it moves through the area later this week, the erosion can be measured.

Accurate data is crucial, as without it there’s no way the county or towns along Bogue Banks can be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the cost of replacing sand lost in a storm.

In an email to members of the county beach commission, Mr. Rudolph wrote that Geodynamics of Newport, the county’s beach surveying firm, will be “on call” to take surveys soon after the storm passes.

“This will be a judgement call come Friday or Saturday, but they have all the proper entry/essential personnel passes and their equipment is ready to go,” Mr. Rudolph said in the email.

Geodynamics uses specially equipped boats and all-terrain vehicles to survey the beach, from just offshore up to the dunes.

In addition, Mr. Rudolph said in his email, he completed taking photos of the beach all the way from Bogue Inlet to Beaufort Inlet, a process that took most of Tuesday, at sites the county has photographed for years for comparison.

In a new twist for the county, Mr. Rudolph also used a drone, operated by Greg Finn, a licensed operator, to film the entire Bogue Banks strand from the air. He estimates the cost could be less than $1,000.

“The video will be compressed so it can shared via YouTube,” Mr. Rudolph wrote, and “will be a nice compliment to the still photos and beach survey” if the county goes for FEMA money.

The county is seeking millions of dollars from FEMA already for the cost of replacing sand lost during Hurricane Florence in September 2018.

Sand was added in eastern Emerald Isle, most of Salter Path and Indian Beach in a nourishment project completed this spring. It cost $20.1 million, involved 5.2 miles of beach and resulted in about 975,000 cubic yards of sand being dredged up offshore of Atlantic Beach and placed on the strand.

A second Florence project is out for bid now, with an opening set for Tuesday at 5 p.m. There’s no way to know the cost until the bids come in and one is accepted, but the project is nearly twice as big as this spring’s, at about 1.86 million cubic yards of sand.

Most of the local money for the projects come from the towns and from the county’s beach nourishment fund, which receives half of the money derived from the county’s occupancy tax. Other funds typically come from the state, but the county is still hoping to get FEMA money.

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

See Carolinacoastonline article . . .