Emerald Isle board OKs $250K dune vegetation project for spring

Portions of the Emerald Isle strand will look like this again in spring of 2022, as town commissioners agreed Tuesday night to fund a project to plant 300,000 pieces of vegetation to stabilize dunes created in recent beach nourishment projects. (Carteret County Shore Protection Office photo)

EMERALD ISLE — Emerald Isle commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday night to spend up to $250,000 to plant 300,000 pieces of vegetation to help stabilize dunes created in recent beach nourishment projects.

The contract went to Aquatic Plants of Florida, the low bidder. The board of commissioners’ regular session was held in its meeting room off Highway 58 and virtually via GoToWebinar.

Town manager Matt Zapp said during the meeting he was very pleased with the bid and looked forward to the project, set for spring.

Greg Rudolph, manager of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office, which oversees beach nourishment projects, said Wednesday it is a good plan.

“We helped coordinate the bid process,” he said. “Emerald Isle is close to half of Bogue Banks, and the town’s dunes suffered the most ‘trampling’ of vegetation after vegetation was planted in the recent projects.”

The nourishment and dune-planting projects have been annual for the past three years, all in an effort to keep the recreational beaches wide and the dunes stable to provide protection to valuable oceanfront property.

Essentially, the projects replaced millions of cubic yards of sand lost from Emerald Isle and the rest of the island during and after Hurricane Florence in September 2018, at a cost of close to $60 million. Most of that money came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The idea for the Emerald Isle planting project, Mr. Rudolph said, is to fill in “hot spots” where the most vegetation was trampled and killed, despite the town’s efforts to keep people out of the dunes.

“We’re keeping a running list” of where the plants should go, he said.

Aquatic Plants will harvest seeds from sea oats, grow the shoots in a greenhouse over the winter and plant them on the dunes in the spring.

Although dune vegetation plantings in association with recent beach nourishment projects have been done by firms other than Aquatic Plants of Florida, Mr. Rudolph said he is familiar with the company and has worked with it in the past. The company has a seed bank of aquatic plants from all over the world, and a few years ago asked for and got permission from the county to harvest some seeds from the area, according to Mr. Rudolph.

“They’ll do good work,” he said.

The town will use money from its beach nourishment to pay for the plantings. The fund gets money from 1 cent of the town’s property tax rate of 15.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, plus an additional 4-cent tax on oceanfront property.


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

(2) comments


Too bad snow fence is athestically unappealing. It works exceptionally well often adding 2-3 feet of sand to top of dunes over the winter.

David Collins

One good Northeaster and the plants will be back in Florida . All the money spent and that is all the dunes you have ? No wonder he quit .

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