The big coastal issue

Sand. As in, who pays for dredging channels along the coast now that the federal government seems unlikely to pay and just as critically, beach renourishment, who pays to pump sand on beaches to make up for that washed away by the tides. And throw in a lot of debate about whether structures like terminal groins can be used to protect beaches from erosion. It’s all makes for a big, complex, highly-charged issue.

Two articles this weekend get at elements of the sand wars:

• The Associated Press reports on the debate about the future of the Shackleford Banks:

Beach communities and environmentalists are pushing back against a proposal to give the National Park Service the option of using dredging material to fight erosion on North Carolina’s pristine Shackleford Banks, where wild horses roam and no humans live.

The proposal, part what’s called a 20-year Dredge Material Management Plan, has created an odd coalition of towns that want the material from Beaufort Inlet to go to their beaches, not the Shackleford Banks, and environmentalists, including the well-known Orrin Pilkey, who want to protect Shackleford Banks from more human interference.

• And from the Wilmington Star-News:

Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach and Carolina Beach are seeking more authority over how room occupancy tax dollars are spent, town leaders said at a joint breakfast with state legislators Friday morning.

“I think we all would like the flexibility,” said Wrightsville Beach Mayor Bill Blair. “Mainly because our needs change from year to year.”

The big issue that the beach towns want the flexibility to address is beach renourishment.

Michael Lowrey

Michael Lowrey is a contributor to Carolina Journal and a policy analyst for the John Locke Foundation. Lowrey has written numerous articles for the foundation on topics su...

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