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What is beach nourishment?

Beach nourishment is the process of pumping sand onto an eroding shoreline to widen the existing beach. Sources of sand may include a nearby sandbar, a dredged source (such as an inlet or waterway), or an offshore borrow site along the ocean floor. The widened shoreline provides increased defense from coastal storms and beach erosion, protecting property, communities, and infrastructure that are located along the coast.

While the Outer Banks coastline is beautiful, it is also very fragile. Storms, high winds and tidal changes all contribute to beach erosion. To restore and preserve our fragile coastline, Dare County and the towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head have implemented important beach nourishment projects important that are critical to the future of our communities.

2022 Outer Banks Beach Nourishment Plans

Beach nourishment projects require management as time goes on. The next round of re-nourishment is tentatively planned for 2022 in the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head. Plans are in the early stages, but a contract has been secured with Coastal Protection Engineering in Wilmington, NC.

Nags Head’s project is planned for the timeframe between late spring and early fall of 2022. It will take place on the beach between Milepost 16 near Jennette’s Pier and the town line less than five miles to the south. A tentative project schedule and map may become available in the spring of 2022 for the Nags Head project. 


More Information About Beach Nourishment

Sand will be pumped onto the shoreline by offshore dredges to widen the existing beaches, which have suffered from erosion in many places. The goal of these beach nourishment projects is to replenish and protect the homes and beaches we all love, from coastal storms that threaten our shoreline. These projects will be completed in sections to minimize the impact on visitors to the area and ensure that the beaches are still accessible for your enjoyment.

About 1,000 feet of the beach will be directly impacted during construction at any one time and a portion of this area may be closed. Construction is anticipated to impact oceanfront properties between 3-5 days. Once a section is pumped into place it should be re-opened for use within 24-48 hours. Sand ramps will be placed over a temporary pipeline at every public access and then in intervals of no more than 200-300 feet, allowing people to get across and enjoy the beach seaward of the pipeline. There will be a wide beach after nourishment, giving people large areas seaward of the pipeline to enjoy. 

A construction schedule map will be posted on this site in the spring of 2022. This map will be updated daily during the project to provide the latest beach closure information.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this causes and are confident you understand the importance and necessity of this project so you can continue to return and enjoy the Outer Banks beaches for many years to come. We hope you will choose to make the best of your vacation should you find your stay impacted by the beach nourishment project.

The current beach nourishment schedule can be found at DareNC.com.

We encourage you to sign up for email updates from the towns and receive the most current construction information straight to your inbox or check DareNC.com for updates.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will I be able to get to the beach while the project is underway?

Yes! If construction limits access directly in front of your property, you may need to enter the beach at an alternate beach access.

Sand ramps will be placed over a temporary pipeline at every public access and then in intervals of 300 feet, allowing people to get across and enjoy the beach seaward of the pipeline. There will be a wide beach after nourishment, giving people large areas seaward of the pipeline to enjoy. The newly built beach may be a bit darker than the old beach, but it will quickly bleach out from the sun.

Or, you may take the opportunity to visit beaches throughout Dare County which offer public access outside of the immediate project area, or visit one of the many attractions located on the Outer Banks such as the Wright Brothers National MemorialJockey’s Ridge State Park, the Duck Boardwalk, or lighthouses found along our coastline.

Is construction noisy?

You will be able to tell if construction operations are underway in front of your property. The sounds you will typically hear are the back up alarms from bulldozers and trucks, which are required by federal law. Lights will be used on the beach throughout the night and may be visible from homes.

Why does dredging take place in the summer months?

Dredging operations offshore of the Outer Banks typically take place in the summer months because it is much safer for the crews working on the offshore dredge. Frequent late fall, winter, and early spring storms make working off our shore very dangerous. The summer and early fall are the safest times to perform the work. The decreased risk of safety and anticipated decreases in productivity in the winter months when sea conditions can shut down dredge operations were found to drive the costs of the projects up to a point where they would have no longer been financially viable.

How will beach nourishment affect my visit to the Outer Banks?

Many Outer Banks areas will not be impacted by the upcoming 2022 Nags Head project. However, if you are staying in or accessing beaches in Nags Head anywhere south of the Jennette's Pier near milepost 16 during the summer months of 2022*, you may be affected. Detailed sand pumping location information will be available on the progress map,  a link will be provided here once construction begins. Depending upon the location of the operations, you may experience some temporary construction noise, night illumination, and beach access diversions. Please be patient with our much needed project – beach nourishment is vital to our towns’ future.

*This schedule is preliminary and may change based on project bid results.

Will they pump sand onto the beach in more than one place at a time?

Because we have such a short weather window in which to complete the project, there may be more than one section of our beach affected at a time.

Nags Head Beach Nourishment 2019