After new study, Currituck County to consider beach nourishment ‘options’

By on February 15, 2023

On Feb. 15, Currituck County released this synopsis of a three-year Shoreline Stability Study that examined the county’s 22 miles of ocean coastline and was presented at a Feb. 3 retreat of the Currituck County Commissioners.

Among the key findings:

  • The part of the county facing the greatest potential impact on structures over the next 30 years is in Corolla.
  • The section of the county that experienced a loss in sand volume over the study period is Pine Island.
  • The county will develop a Beach Management Plan, which could include “options” for beach nourishment.
  • No property owner on mainland Corolla will be taxed to pay for beach nourishment, although property owners in Corolla and the 4WD area could help pay for such projects by being by included in a service tax district.

Here is the full release.

The Currituck County Board of Commissioners received the conclusions of a three-year Shoreline Stability Study that analyzed the county’s 22 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline. During the Board’s retreat on February 3, 2023, Ken Willson of Coastal Protection Engineering of North Carolina, Inc. presented the project’s final report. This study assessed the short-term shoreline and volumetric changes to the county’s shoreline in 2020, 2021, and 2022. It also provided long-term projections over 10-, 20-, and 30-year periods and a vulnerability analysis of existing structures located near the coast.

Highlights of the final report include predictions of no significant impacts in the Carova or Pine Island sections based on projected shoreline change rates over a 30-year period. The section with the greatest number of projected impacts to structures over the next 30 years is Corolla, from the 4WD beach access point south to the Ocean Lake community in Ocean Sands.

The study also assessed the volumetric changes of sand from the dune line to a minimum depth of 6’ under water.  Some areas experienced gains in sand volume, including Carova, Reserve/Wildlife Refuge, and Corolla.  However, the section at Pine Island experienced a loss in volume.

With the final report in hand, Currituck County will take important steps in the near future to ensure the well-being of the coastline: (1) The county will continue to monitor the beach profile, particularly in areas of high projected impacts to structures and sections that experienced a loss in volumetric change; and (2) The county will develop a Beach Management Plan, which may include options for beach nourishment projects in certain areas.

Commissioners have established one key factor in the Beach Management Plan:  That no tax payments from any property owner on mainland Currituck will be used to pay for beach nourishment projects. Any potential beach nourishment projects would be funded by occupancy tax, federal or state grants, or a possible service district tax for owners of property in Corolla and the 4WD area.

For many years, Currituck County has taken steps to protect the beaches and coastline. Steps include local laws protecting dune structures, traffic regulations on the 4WD beach, limiting the number of vehicles allowed on the 4WD beach in the peak tourist season, storm mitigation and recovery practices, and a dune vegetation and sand fencing grant program available to property owners.

The beaches and coastal areas are important to Currituck County’s heritage, environment, tourism industry, and quality of life for residents. The Board of Commissioners is committed to protecting the coastline and ensuring healthy beaches. To view the Shoreline Stability Study, please visit the county website at



  • Just saying

    I say make Bob White and the rest of the horse tours pony up! Horse tours contribute to 65% of the daily on and off traffic that Beach! Not to mention what they have done to all the back roads and people’s private property! Agreed something needs to change up there.But taxing the property owners solely that live up there or own property up there doesn’t seem right. When all of the tax revenue for currituck comes from up there but they use that money over in moyock. Just saying

    Wednesday, Feb 15 @ 7:03 pm
  • Next comment

    I believe the folks in mainland Currituck have benefited quite a bit from Corolla visitor tax revenues. Interesting that they are excluded from contributing.

    Wednesday, Feb 15 @ 7:41 pm
  • Steven

    I feel sorry for folks in mainland Currituck. Must be awful for them with all the traffic, backups, and people in a hurry and driving crazy.
    They’re stuck on weekends, not able to go anywhere or get things done.
    Tourists are the bane of the entire eastern Carolina area. Very sad.
    Now they ruin it for everyone with their numbers and create a unhealthy economy.
    25 years ago we were thriving and the demographic was pleasant..

    Thursday, Feb 16 @ 5:46 am
  • Ray

    Beach replenishment is not a long term solution ! such projects replenish the same vulnerable areas again and again, and disproportionately benefit wealthy owners of seaside lots ,
    pumping millions of cubic yards of sand onto beaches can cause environmental damage, according to decades of studies. It kills wildlife scooped up from the ocean floor and smothers mole crabs and other creatures where sand is dumped, most recently per studies by Western Carolina University & noted professor of geology Robert Young
    As well as studies published in the journal of experimental marine biology and ecology as well as many other studies published to in the last 20 years

    Thursday, Feb 16 @ 7:32 am
  • Dano

    Best solution is to increase visitor tax, increase beach parking permit cost. If you exclude mainlanders from paying tax for beach nourishment then charge them for parking on beach. A graduated tax based on your location to beach should be considered. I don’t live on beach, why should I pay for beachfront mega house beaches? Sounds like Commisioner’s are catering to Pine Island rental owners.

    Thursday, Feb 16 @ 7:40 am
  • M

    Ditto to the comment on Mainland benefiting from Corolla taxes. The County needs to do more to limit traffic on 4×4 area and to monitor vehicles not airing down. The beach is a mess all the time as well as the interior roads. All the tourism has ruined the area and changed what everyone loved about it. Another issue may be the set backs in Pine Island/Ocean
    Sands, pools and structures may be too close to the dune line.

    Thursday, Feb 16 @ 8:12 am
  • OBXDan

    Mainland Currituck residents won’t contribute a dime to help protect the Corolla golden goose, yet they can’t wait to keep spending that Corolla money that’s been coming their way for years. SMH.

    Thursday, Feb 16 @ 7:22 pm
  • tom

    What the actual f***!?

    If this happens before Rodanthe gets a beach nourishment, you are going to have one very angry island down south…

    Thursday, Feb 16 @ 7:59 pm
  • Quef

    Agree with the sentiment of OBXDan being a Corolla resident. If mainland Currituck doesn’t wanna pay then that’s fine, but then they shouldn’t get a single penny of our occupancy tax that they have been misappropriating and using toward anything they see fit on the mainland and leaving us to beg for scraps.

    Saturday, Feb 18 @ 6:16 pm