Shoreline Protection

Shoreline Protection is a comprehensive approach to coastal management which is designed to mitigate the effects of ocean currents, waves, and storms.  The Village monitors the island’s various coastal interfaces through a “best practice” approach and seeks to enhance dunes and promote a robust shoreline.  There have been several peer-reviewed publications that describe how wide beaches with established vegetated dunes have protected property during significant storm events.

The Village of Bald Head Island regularly monitors the shoreline and implements erosion control measures (such as groins and beach nourishment).  The Village monitors all beaches along the 14 miles of shoreline, which includes East Beach, South Beach, West Beach, and Row Boat Row.  On a regular basis and prior to significant storms, the Village performs assessments to document the condition of the beach and shoreline stabilization structures (Geotextile Groins, Breakwaters & Jetties).  After the storm passes, the Village compares pre and post-storm conditions to determine if external validation is warranted.  If there is a significant change, the Village contacts engineering, and surveying contractors to quantify changes.  FEMA reimbursement requires quantifying sand loss or percent damage (in the case of a structure). Currently, the Village utilizes Olsen and Associates for its coastal engineering needs.

Olsen and Associates, a firm out of Jacksonville, Florida, has worked on several beach projects (groins, beach nourishment, and jetties) along the East Coast and has many years of coastal design experience.   Along with the structural design, coastal engineers play an integral role in the permitting and compliance phases of beach projects.  Permitting is perhaps the most challenging component of coastal construction.  Permitting often requires approval from the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, Marine Fisheries, US Army Corps of Engineers and a host of other external stakeholders.

Olsen and Associates utilize 3D modeling to determine the future profile of Bald Head’s beaches.  This information allows the Village to plan and budget for upcoming projects. The Village provides an annual monitoring report which highlights changes in the Island’s shoreline.

Educational Materials