Carteret beach panel endorses $2.95M contract for sand location study

Crews move sand during a past beach nourishment project on Bogue Banks. This week, the Carteret County Beach Commission agreed to a nearly $3 million study to find new sources of beach-quality sand to meet future needs. (Carteret County Shore Protection Office photo)

EMERALD ISLE — The Carteret County Beach Commission voted unanimously Monday to endorse a plan to spend $2.95 million to work with engineers and state and federal officials to identity sources of sand for future nourishment projects.

The vote came during a meeting in the Emerald Isle Board of Commissioners’ meeting room and online via Zoom.

The money is for the first phase of a multi-year project by the county’s beach engineering firm, Moffatt & Nichol.

Although the county has way more than enough money in its beach nourishment fund – which receives half the proceeds from the 6% tax on rental accommodations – board members expressed hope state and federal agencies might kick in funds. Those agencies could include the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Representatives from BOEM were at the meeting, as were representatives of Moffatt & Nichol. Chris Freeman of Geodynamics, the county’s beach monitoring and sand surveying firm, based in Newport, also participated in the discussion.

“It’s a great opportunity for a county, state, federal effort,” said commission member Larry Baldwin of Pine Knoll Shores. “The data is everything to make a good decision. Three million is a lot of money, but it’s a great opportunity.”

Greg Rudolph, manager of the County Shore Protection Office, noted there are “sand wars” in Florida, as local governments scramble to find beach-quality material for increasing numbers of nourishment projects.

Doug Piatkowski of BOEM said there is increasing demand for Outer Continental Shelf sand in the federal waters, which extend from 3 to 200 miles offshore, in part because the resources in state waters are diminishing. It’s the result of increasing number of hurricanes and coastal erosion, he added.

According to Mr. Rudolph, the first phase of the work will be an “initial reconnaissance/desktop-level examination” of existing literature about where significant deposits of high-quality sand are located close to Bogue Banks, other than at the long-used dredge disposal site in the ocean just off Atlantic Beach.

Once the study has determined where those deposits are, it would be followed by an effort to take core samples to verify amounts and quality.

The goal is to find enough sand to cover the needs for the 47 remaining years in the county’s 50-year beach nourishment master plan.

There’s not an immediate need for sand to augment the existing site, Mr. Rudolph said, but it would be good to identify cost-effective deposits to ensure there will be enough for years to come.

It’s estimated there are 12 million cubic yards of sand or more left on the borrow site. However, Mr. Rudolph told the commission the county has put close to 5 million cubic yards of sand on Bogue in the past three years, and no one knows what future needs will be.

All involved in the discussion agreed there’s not an urgent problem and the search, after the first phase, will need to be stringently designed, timed and carefully monitored to avoid harm to marine mammals and possible cultural resources, such as buried shipwrecks. The bottom line, according to beach commission Chairperson Jim Normile of Emerald Isle, is by undertaking the study, “we’re doing the prudent thing.

“Rudi (Mr. Rudolph) has done a great job putting this together,” he added. “I’ve often said that those on this board before us were visionaries. Now we have a chance to do the same. Should a need (for new sand sources arise,) we’ll know where the sand is and how to access it,” Mr. Normile concluded.

The entire effort could take three years or more.


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

(8) comments


I have to read things several times, then I pick out key words and phrases.

"first phase of a multi-year project"

"desktop level"

"who knows what future will bring"

"sand wars in Fl."

So 3 million spent to id possible sand locations for the future?

Does sand not shift ? meaning that sand bar you id'd for the future might well have moved off the coast of Ga when you want it in the distant future.

The whole idea of placing sand on the beach is foolishness, the commission consists of follks who Live on the beach, who think tourisism is the only economic engine for this area, and have no hesitation on spending MILLIONS of our tax dollars every yr on sand. Its like a drug addiction, more sand, whiter sand, finer sand ,I need my sand fix.

What did jesus say about all this? The parable of the wise and foolish builders.

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”



Is it feasible to protect the whole coast year after year? And maybe we shouldn’t build or rebuild in flood-prone areas, just retreat from these areas with restrictions on new construction. Of course, many politicians are not open to this idea.


Beach nourishment is not the true fix but is more of a band-aid approach to our shore. Is beach replenishment worth the time, money, and resources we put into such a process that must be constantly repeated and doesn’t stop erosion?

The Trump administration made a policy change that allowed coastal communities to use federal anti-erosion funds to replenish their shores with sand from nearby protected areas.

The Biden Administration may/will/have overturned this policy change concerning federal funding on grounds that it threatens wildlife habitat and wastes taxpayer money.

Carteret County Shore Protection Office Manager Greg Rudolph said the county hasn’t used any sand from federally protected areas in any of its renourishment projects. But that doesn’t mean the policy, which also prohibits the use of federal money for projects in those areas, can’t bite the county in the future, particularly when it comes to Bogue Inlet.


How many turtles will bite the dust this time. Was any criminal action taken against those responsible last time? Are the contractors allowed so many kills or a bag limit? I am sick and tired of your two sets of rules government. Shore Protection Officer?? Paper Tiger when his own break the law.


How is the beach panel authorized to spend this large sum of our money.

Bond issue,?

Mandated by voters?

Self interest of the rental community?.

As in the past, the sand has to meet certain physical specifications? Who does that? Is our economic business model capable of supporting this sum with a positive net return on revenue? If no, then change the model. If yes -let's see what you got.

How does this sand plan compare with purchase of ocean front property, removing same, and opening the beach to all. Parking will be needed and will generate predictable revenue. and the beach would be completely open to the public - as it was 35 years ago when I first moved here

Private investors could start building a sand free business model based on parking that will easily out perform this sand model.and consistent with the citizens right to beach access.

Please reply with your comments


I hope they count each grain of sand for accuracy. This study is time and money well wasted.

David Collins

Seems like Mof Fat for us and Nichol and dimes add up , are in the driver’s seat . Anything they say goes . Nice gig if you can get it . And fools step in .

Pretty sure there in enough sand beyond the surf line , where it has been forever .


jetties every half mile would be perfect instead of sand.


jetties come with their own set of problems, specifically as the sand naturally migrates it will fill the up stream side of the jetties, interfere with natural migration of various critters, and in the event of a red tide or algae bloom prevent that from being washed away making the beach a stinking mess for months. Hardly conductive to our tourist golden goose.

Welcome to the discussion.

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.