Terminal groins are hardened structures that jut into the ocean with the aim of preventing beach erosion. The construction of one is in progress, and three other local coastal communities are pursuing permits. Yet oceanfront officials and environmentalists disagree on the costs and benefits.
An amendment to the Coastal Area Management Act allows for up to four new terminal groins in North Carolina, and all four projects are slated for the Cape Fear region.
The comment period for a terminal groin proposal at Bald Head Island is now open. If approved, this could lead to the construction of the first terminal groin in North Carolina since lawmakers legalized such structures in 2011.
A terminal groin is a hardened structure which controls sand flow so as to rebuild beaches. Mike Giles of the North Carolina Coastal Federation says if the island installs such a structure, they should remove the existing groin field made up of smaller, sand-filled tubes that slow down erosion:
The decision to issue a permit for a terminal groin at the northern end of Figure Eight Island will be closely watched by environmentalists and three other nearby island communities – who are each hoping for their own erosion-control device.
Update: The Coastal Policy Reform Act of 2013 has passed its second reading in the House.
This article was modified to reflect a correction. The cap on the number of terminal groins allowed in the state, according to the most recent version of the Coastal Policy Reform Act of 2013, is four.
Today, state leaders in the House could consider a bill that would ease financial requirements for beach communities looking to install a terminal groin.