Terminal Groin Project

Terminal Groin Project

Terminal groins are structures that run perpendicular to the shore and close to a tidal inlet to catch sand and keep the shoreline intact. Towns position is that a terminal groin could be a vital part of our beach nourishment program; providing stability in the most erosion prone areas of the island.

Town Beach Management Plan includes submitting an application for a terminal groin structure at the island’s east end adjacent to Lockwood Folly Inlet to stabilize the area.

Holden Beach Terminal Groin Draft Engineer Report was completed August 2013
    1) Preferred Alternative includes three components
.       a) Terminal Groin
.       b) Beach nourishment
.       c) Monitoring
.     2) Proposed intermediate groin structure @1,000’ total length
.       a) @700’ groin length
.       b) @300’ anchor section length that will be buried
.       c) Cost estimated at approximately $2,5000,000
    3) Program is estimated to result in substantial savings over the long term

For additional information visit the Town of Holden Beach website » click here
http://www.hbtownhall.com/terminal-groins.html

PUBLIC HEARING:
The US Army Corps of Engineers a federal agency held a public hearing on September 24th to receive public comments on the draft environmental impact statement for Holden Beach’s proposed terminal groin project.

Holden Beach Terminal Groin – Corps ID # SAW-2011-01914
This request is from the Town of Holden Beach for a terminal groin and beach fill project in waters of the US.  The proposed terminal groin is one component of the Town of Holden Beach’s ongoing comprehensive beach management program, described in the Holden Beach 2009 Beach Management Plan. A terminal groin structure on the eastern end of Holden Beach is an alternative that is being considered as the preferred method to reduce the high erosion losses that have historically occurred at the east end of Holden Beach, in addition to proactive sand management of Lockwoods Folly Inlet.
For more information »
click here
http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/RegulatoryPermitProgram/MajorProjects.aspx

Holden Beach East End Shore Protection Project
Final Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) / Publication of the Notice of Availability

The Town’s Preferred Alternative (Alternative 6 – Intermediate Terminal Groin with Beach Nourishment) would assume responsibility for East End shore protection through the construction of a terminal groin that would include a 700-ft-long segment extending seaward from the toe of the primary dune and a ~300-ft anchor segment extending landward from the toe of the primary dune.  The groin would also include a 120-ft-long shore parallel T-Head segment centered on the seaward terminus of the main stem. 

Under Alternative 6, construction and maintenance costs would include those associated with construction and maintenance of the intermediate groin and periodic beach nourishment; including the costs of beach fill and groin materials, mobilization/demobilization, monitoring, surveying and permitting.  Additional costs would be associated with risk to properties and infrastructure, loss of recreational opportunities, loss of habitat, and environmental impacts associated with the groin and periodic nourishment and dredging activities.  Over a 30-year planning horizon, assuming $2.5 million for initial groin construction and nourishment of the East End Beach with approximately 150,000 CY of sand every four years, and an annual four percent increase in fill costs, Alternative 6 is expected to involve total construction costs of approximately $34.41 million.
For more information »
click here
http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/RegulatoryPermitProgram/MajorProjects/HBDEIS.aspx

My Two Cents - CR II

I am on the fence, at this point I am neither for nor against the proposed terminal groin. I’m not convinced that this is a need but rather just another want. The report appears to be written in such a way that it takes a position that the Towns preferred alternative is the best choice and then proceeds to justify that position.  Despite the size of the DEIS they don’t have a cost vs. benefit analysis that shows this is the best course of action for the island. It also does not give any insight into how we plan to pay the estimated thirty-four (34) million dollars for this project. Most disconcerting are the two disclaimers that I have shown below that severely undermine the study’s conclusions. The combination of the estimated cost and the uncertainty of the outcome make me reluctant to endorse this project. On the other hand the Central Reach Project which has been on the back burner is a critical project and from my perspective a clear need and my preferred course of action. If we were to have a breach in that area it would make everything west of the breach inaccessible and uninhabitable since no utilities would be provided there. Frankly I don’t see how we can pay for both. So I’m leaning with making the Central Reach Project the priority over the proposed Terminal Groin Project.

Know the difference between wants and needs?
One of the most basic concepts of economics is want vs. need.
A need is something you have to have.
.          • It’s something you can’t do without.
A want is something you would like to have.
         •
It’s not absolutely necessary, but it would be a good thing to have.

Disclaimers –
DEIS 4.8.1 Economic Benefits
This section describes the potential scope of these values for each of the six alternative actions under consideration for the Holden Beach East End Shore Protection Project. Monetary measures are provided for values that are readily identifiable and measurable based on existing data, such as construction and maintenance costs for the alternatives that involve nourishment or a terminal groin, as well as assessed tax values for properties at-risk to loss from erosion. These values should not be considered definitive and should not be used as the sole basis for choice or ranking of alternatives.

This section should not be considered a formal cost-benefit analysis; it is not an attempt to monetize all aspects of the range of market and non-market costs and benefits that are associated with the alternative actions. Costs and benefits associated with changes in aesthetic appeal, opportunities for recreation, or services provided by the affected natural environment constitute real economic costs but are not monetized as part of this report. Based on results in the published and peer-reviewed literature as described in Appendix M, these values are known to be substantial. However, the precise magnitude, distribution, and timing of these values will remain unknown. As such, the select monetary values that are provided herein should be considered general approximations and not representations of the true economic worth associated with the alternatives. Given the inherent uncertainties regarding specific performance of alternatives over a 30-year project planning horizon, providing an estimate of total costs, total benefits, or net gains is not practical. As a result, ranking of the alternatives based on their relative economic values is not performed.

DEIS 5.2.1 Direct and Indirect Impact Analysis
It is not possible to accurately predict all of the complex environmental variables that influence changes in coastal morphology. In fact, some anthropogenic activities, such as AIWW navigation dredging, were purposely excluded from the modeling runs to minimize the potential for masking of project-induced changes. Consequently, the model-projected changes should not be interpreted as a precise estimate of future conditions in the Permit Area.

Update –
NCCF
North Carolina Coastal Federation
.

Since its grassroots formation in 1982 the federation is the state’s only 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that focuses exclusively on protecting and restoring the coast of North Carolina through education, advocacy and habitat preservation and restoration.
For more information » click here
http://www.nccoast.org/about-us/

Protect Oceanfront and Inlet Beaches for Public Uses and Maintain Their Natural Functions
North Carolina’s beaches and inlets are some of our coast’s most valuable environmental and economic assets. Our ability to use the beach and inlets is a basic public trust right that we all share. The state’s constitution specifically states that preserving our beaches is part of our common heritage and the responsibility of state government (N.C. Constitution, Article XIV, Section 5).

In recent years, public access and use of our beaches and inlets have become increasingly hampered as some oceanfront property owners push to install hardened structures, such as sand bags and terminal groins, to protect their seaside investments from possible erosion- all at a great cost financially and environmentally.

In an effort to preserve the natural functions of our beaches and inlets and people’s access to these areas, we promote and support alternative ways to address erosion issues at a much lower financial, social and environmental cost. We are also diligently working to prevent hardened structures that are currently proposed along our coast.

Overview
The east end of Holden Beach has historically experienced high erosion rates as a result of the natural fluctuations of Lockwood Folly Inlet. The issue confronting the Town of Holden Beach is how best to address the effect of that historic and ongoing erosion on properties in the “East End Project Area” in a manner that is economically sound, maintains the Town’s recreational beach, and can be implemented. On August 28, 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a draft environmental impact statement that analyzed alternatives for responding to the East End erosion over a four-year time span. The alternatives ranged from allowing the erosion to occur naturally to installing an “intermediate” length terminal groin. Based on the analysis presented in the environmental impact statement, three things are clear:

  • Some properties will be lost under any alternative
  • Relocating affected houses is the only alternative that maintains a recreational beach long term
  • Relocating affected houses is the only long-term, cost-effective response. 

The proposed terminal groin and other nourishment alternatives are estimated to cost more than $36 million. In addition to the $2.5 million initial construction cost of the proposed terminal groin, the Town would have to renourish the beach every four years. The 30-year tax revenue from all properties within the 30-year risk area as designated in the Coastal Resources Commission’s 2010 Terminal Groin Study is less than $1.25 million. Based on historical data, a limited number of those properties would be affected, meaning that the lost tax revenue to the Town could be substantially less.

Audubon North Carolina
Members of Audubon North Carolina’s ten local chapters embody the simple enjoyment of birds and the projects that help preserve them.
For more information » click here

http://nc.audubon.org/

Re: SAW-2011-01914 Holden Beach East End Shore Protection Project
Please accept these comments on behalf of the National Audubon Society’s North Carolina State Office regarding the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project known as “Holden Beach East End Shore Protection Project.”

The DEIS omits the vast majority of the ample body of scientific literature that is available to describe the well-known and accepted physical impacts of terminal groins and beach fill. It then fails to accurately describe the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that these activities would have on biological resources within Lockwood Folly Inlet…

Alternative 2, as presented in the DEIS, is the only alternative in the DEIS that can and should be considered We urge the Corps to reject all other alternatives presented in the DEIS and consider non-destructive, long-term and economically feasible solutions for the Town of Holden Beach.

Figure 5.4. Holden Beach – Model-Projected YR4 MHW Lines for all Alternatives
Model of all Alternatives II - CR
My Two Cents - CR II

I have now attended two community meetings with representatives from the North Carolina Coastal Federation. Both meetings were interactive discussion groups unlike the meeting for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Model Lines for all Alternatives picture shown above is the DEIS modelling after four years. Modelling has all the alternate lines reasonably close together regardless of which alternative we select including not doing anything at all. Their doesn’t appear to be any substantial change in the erosion on the east end of the island despite spending thirty-four (34) million dollars for a terminal groin. Also upon further review it seems that the DEIS minimized the cost ($34 million) of alternate six and has exaggerated the costs ($46 million) of alternate one maintaining the status quo. The projections they made regarding the cubic yards required in the annual sand nourishment numbers are not even remotely close to the historical data provided in the Beach Nourishment Report. I am really struggling to form an opinion, positive or negative, so I’m still on the fence. However I’m slowly becoming more and more convinced that a terminal groin is neither economically sound nor in our best interest.

IMPACTS OF TERMINAL GROINS ON NORTH CAROLINA’S COASTS
Results show that faced with rising sea levels, terminal groins are likely to cause more harm than good.
For more information » click here
http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/5182/Knapp_Whitney_MP.pdf?sequence=1

Terminal Groin – Save Rich Inlet Public Forum
Meeting was held on Saturday, March 5th in Wilmington, NC
Forum was to allow contact and interaction with people that have direct expertise on the subject

Forum takeaways –
Danish physicist Niels Bohr –
“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”
Even if we assume the models accurately represent all the variables
Nobody knows what’s really going to happen
Because of this, ultimately the answer is imperfect
Analysis with that level of uncertainty is an exercise in futility

We need to do both a cost benefit analysis and a risk benefit analysis
Project is high risk with a high probability that it will not work
Just doesn’t add up – they cannot support constructing a terminal groin

Coastal Scientist Statement on Groin Impacts
Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines
Western Carolina University 

The United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Coastal Engineering Manual describes groins as: “…probably the most misused and improperly designed of all coastal structures…

There is no debate: A structure placed at the terminus of a barrier island, near an inlet, will interrupt the natural sand bypass system, deprive the ebb and flood tide deltas of sand and cause negative impacts to adjacent Islands. 

Using groins in conjunction with beach nourishment projects is of dubious value as well.

The localized and temporary up drift benefits afforded by groins and jetties rarely, if ever, justify the down drift damage caused by increased erosion.

Property Owners’ Understanding of Erosion Control on Holden Beach
Executive Summary
The environmental and socioeconomic implications of terminal groins have been debated nationally and become largely controversial, especially along the North Carolina coast. Coastal communities have recently witnessed the effects of beach erosion on their coastlines, and beachfront properties have already been lost to the sea. These issues are particularly severe on barrier islands and near inlets, both of which are extremely dynamic. Locals often disagree on the best way to control erosion, and town governments struggle to find a balance between safeguarding development on beaches and bearing the economic, environmental, and social costs of erosion intervention options. Terminal groins are one option to slow the impacts of beach erosion or to supplement beach nourishment efforts, despite varied evidence on their level of effectiveness.

The Town of Holden Beach has proposed a terminal groin to save properties that are threatened by beach erosion on the eastern portion of the island. In order to assess homeowners’ understanding of beach erosion and the effects of terminal groins, as well as to understand their preferences for erosion intervention alternatives, a web survey was developed for our client, the Southern Environment al Law Center, to be distributed by the Holden Beach Property Owners’ Association (POA). The POA circulated the survey to their email list of 1096 addresses, and respondents had two weeks to complete the survey.

Results of this study indicate a mixed level of understanding of beach erosion and the impacts of terminal groins, but respondents were very interested in learning more about what the proposed terminal groin would mean for Holden Beach. There was a nearly identical number of responses from those clearly in support of the proposed groin and clearly against the proposed groin (101 and 100 individuals, respectively). Both cost and environmental impacts were deemed to be very important determinants of whether or not respondents supported the proposed groin. According to our study, there is a need for further dissemination of educational materials on impacts of groins and clearer statements of costs for the proposed erosion intervention alternatives. Respondents expressed a strong desire to be included in decision-making processes regarding erosion intervention on Holden Beach.
For more information »
click here
http://holdenbeachpoa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Holden-Beach-Final-Report.pdf

Save Lockwood Folly Inlet Website
The Holden Beach proposed terminal groin draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is flawed. It fails to comply with federal law. It does not provide required data and it includes flawed financial analysis of the project.
For more information » click here
http://www.savelockwoodfollyinlet.org/

Same Tune, Different Players at Holden
Building a wall to curb erosion as this beach town now wants to do on the east end of island is an idea that’s been around for decades. The town’s first mayor, John F. Holden, put up a series of small, wooden walls at the east end sometime in the 1960s, according to his son and the town’s current mayor, Alan Holden. He installed some small groins down at the old pavilion down in the 100 block of Ocean Boulevard East that proved to work very well,” Alan Holden said. “As the current drifted over them the sand would fall on the backside. He had to take them out as they got older.” In the 1970s, John F. Holden worked with the state’s governor to place sandbag groins in the same area where the wooden structures once stood. “They proved to work very well, but we had a problem with people taking knives to them,” Alan Holden said. John F. Holden eventually sought construction of a jetty at Lockwood Folly Inlet by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps, though, decided to build a jetty farther south at Little River Inlet in South Carolina in the early 1980s.

In 1985 North Carolina banned hard structures, including terminal groins and jetties, as erosion control methods on the along the beachfront. There are technical differences between jetties and terminal groins. Jetties are typically bigger and longer than groins, built at navigable inlets to reduce shoaling. Terminal groins are usually built on straight stretches of beach and are perpendicular to the coast. They are designed to trap sand.

John F. Holden would not get to fulfill his pursuit to install a terminal groin or jetty on the east end. He died in 2000, 11 years before the N.C. General Assembly repealed the ban. Now Holden Beach is closer than it’s ever been to the possibility of installing a terminal groin on the east end. The Corps last fall released a draft environmental study on the proposed project. As Holden Beach waits for the agency to release a final environmental impact statement, some town leaders and property owners are seeking answers about whether or not the proposed project will work effectively, is worth the long-term costs and potential environmental impacts.

They will get the opportunity to hear more about terminal groins at a public forum today sponsored by the N.C. Coastal Federation, the Holden Beach Property Owners Association and the Southern Environmental Law Center. “What we’re trying to do is offer a chance to people who are interested to ask questions of the experts and hear the other side of the story as far as what this proposal could to do the town,” said Mike Giles, a coastal advocate with the federation. Tom Myers, president of the Holden Beach Property Owners Association, said a survey the association conducted last August revealed a majority of property owners that responded needed more information about future beach projects. “We’re trying to look at everybody and get a broad understanding of what the opinions are,” Myers said. “Our EIS draft went out and I think there was a lot of frustration there because it was a one-way dialogue. You couldn’t really get into a Q&A session. I think that’s what people really want.”

The federation and Audubon North Carolina have gone on record opposing the proposed project, which would include construction of a roughly 1,000-foot-long terminal groin and subsequent beach re-nourishing that would place anywhere from about 120,000 to 180,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach, according to the draft EIS. Re-nourishment would occur about every four years. Over a 30-year period the project would cost upwards of $35 million. Giles said, economically, the town may be better off if a handful of homes at the east end are relocated. “The entire island is not under threat of erosion from the inlet,” he said. “We think erosion could be controlled by proper dredging of the inlet, when it’s dredged, and beach nourishment.” The proposed project, according to the draft study, would be built on public and private properties, Giles said. He said town officials have not discussed the location with property owners whose land would be affected. “That’s one of the things that is being hashed out as we go forward with the permit process,” Alan Holden said. He supports construction of a terminal groin on the east end, where he said dozens of homes have been lost during his lifetime as a result of erosion. “We look around the world and it’s generally understood that [terminal groins] are a good thing,” he said. John Fletcher, a Holden Beach commissioner, said the jury’s still out for him and other board members as to whether a terminal groin is the best alternative for the town. “We’re waiting for more information,” he said. “We’re hungry for more information. The commissioners have been hoping something like [the public forum] would happen. I’m sure there are cases where terminal groins have worked and cases where terminal groins have not worked.”

The forum will be 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Holden Beach Chapel Fellowship Hall. Panelists include Stan Riggs, a coastal geologist and distinguished research professor at East Carolina University; Andy Coburn, deputy director of Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines; Doug Wakeman, a retired professor of economics at Meredith College’s School of Business; and Geoff Gisler, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. Town officials and representatives with Dial Cordy and Associates, the contractor that wrote the EIS, have declined an invitation to the forum saying it is inappropriate for them to participate, Myers said. “We’re not trying to interfere in any way with the process,” he said. “We want someone to summarize these big, thick documents. There’s a lot of confusion, a lot of misinformation about what it’s all about. My goal is, if we all agree on all the facts then we’ll come to the same conclusion and there won’t be that much debate.”

State law requires that local voters must approve funding to build a terminal groin. Myers said he hopes the town’s registered voters and property owners, a majority of whom are not year-round residents, have a clear understanding of the proposed project by the time it’s put to a vote.

Holden Beach is among a handful of towns seeking permits to build terminal groins. The Village of Bald Head Island is the first in the state to build a terminal groin since the law was changed in 2011 to allow up to four projects. In 2015, the law was changed again to allow another two groins to be built.  Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick County and Figure Eight Island, a private barrier island in New Hanover County, are in various stages of the process to obtain permits.

Learn More

For more information » click here
http://www.coastalreview.org/2016/04/14175/

Holden Beach Terminal Groin Public Forum
Meeting was held on Friday, April 29th at Holden Beach Chapel by the Sea
Forum was to allow contact and interaction with people that have direct expertise on the subject

Over one hundred (100) members of the community were in attendance. Everyone agrees that the beach strand is our most valuable asset. Both the HBPOA and Duke University surveys determined that there should be further dissemination of educational material. I applaud the four “Preserve Our Family Beach” Commissioners that attended in an effort to educate themselves so that they can make an informed decision based on the facts. Despite the good attendance it was as interesting to note who was not there. Town officials and representatives with Dial Cordy and Associates, Applied Technology and Management the contractor that wrote the EIS, declined to join the discussion. A number of members of the community that have already decided that they are for the terminal groin were not in attendance apparently they don’t need hearing the opposing viewpoints. Unfortunately, both the Mayor and Commissioner Kyser chose not to attend either.

If you think a terminal groin is a panacea, you were misinformed.

Forum takeaways –
Inherent bias of the speakers towards conservation

Significant disagreement with EIS
.      a) EIS developed to support building a terminal groin
.      b) Overstated benefits, most optimistic assumptions
.      c) Overestimated erosion, not close to historical data
.      d) Underestimated costs, NO telling what actual cost will be but most probably they will be higher
     e) Ripe with uncertainty, which is not dealt with at all
.      f) Long term project, modelling is for just four years
     g) Storms are a critical piece, yet they are not included in modeling

Model - Issue CR

Fiscal analysis – looked at the two end points
.    1) Worst case – Alternate #2, Relocation / Retreat
.    2) Best case – Alternate #6, Intermediate Groin

The Issue: By the Numbers

Parcels Affected:
Alternate #2                 28 total            19 improved
Alternate #6                 16 total            11 improved

Assessed Value:
Alternate #2                 $5.18M
Alternate #6                 $2.10M

Cost:
Alternate #2                 $0
Alternate #6                 $34.43m

None of the alternatives protect every house
Beach nourishment is not significantly different for either alternatives
Difference between worst case and best case is only eight (8) houses
Only a $3.08M difference in the loss of revenue, the contribution at risk is minimal

The question becomes: Is it worth it?

Critics: Terminal Groins Don’t Stop Erosion
A terminal groin would benefit a handful of homes, protect less than $1.2 million in tax revenue over 30 years and push chronic erosion at the east end of Holden Beach to spots further down the barrier island, according to coastal and economic experts. Fiscal and environmental perspectives of the town’s proposed $34.4 million terminal groin project were presented during a public forum attended by nearly 100 property owners at the Holden Beach Chapel last Friday night.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement – a study put together by a consultant firm hired by the town – makes optimistic assumptions, minimizes project costs and does not address uncertainties of the proposed project, said Doug Wakeman, a retired professor of economics at Meredith College in Raleigh. “Anticipate that the benefits will be lower, the costs will be higher and the uncertainty will largely be ignored,” he said.

The study, which was released for public review last fall, states that 150 properties are at risk along the ocean shoreline in Holden Beach. Andy Coburn, the associate director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, calculates that number to be much lower. “A terminal groin, if it’s built and if it does exactly what it’s supposed to do, which it won’t, is supposed to protect all 150 properties,” he said. Those properties are seaward of a state-delineated 30-year imminent risk line, and a terminal groin, he said, will not protect all 150 properties, if any at all. By his calculations, the benefits of a terminal groin may accrue to only 32 properties classified as imminent risk.

Over a 30-year period, the projected life of the proposed project, those 32 properties would result in a net present value tax revenue loss of less than $1.2 million, Coburn said. The net present value tax revenue loss over a 30-year period for all 150 properties is about $5.3 million, he said. The preferred project alternative in the study would expand 1,000 feet at the Lockwood Folly Inlet with 300 feet anchored on a portion of the large sand spit at the east end and the remaining 700 feet offshore.

The project’s proponents say a terminal groin would offer a long-term solution to chronic, severe erosion on the east end. Over time, the encroaching Atlantic has claimed numerous homes. Houses that were once second-row homes along McCrary Street are now beachfront properties. Town Mayor Alan Holden, who did not attend the forum, said in a previous interview that dozens of homes on the east end have been lost to erosion.

The town’s consultants on the proposed project, the town manager and the company that conducts the town’s annual beach monitoring reports were invited to be part of the forum. They either declined or did not respond, according to Tom Myers, the president of the Holden Beach Property Owners Association. Myers said the forum, hosted by his group, the N.C. Coastal Federation and the Southern Environmental Law Center, was held in response to a survey conducted last fall that revealed nearly half of property owners said they needed more information about the proposed project. A similar Duke University survey, released late last week, reached the same conclusion. That survey states that there is a “mixed level of understanding of beach erosion and the impacts of terminal groins” and that property owners wanted to know more.

Decisions about terminal groins are being made in towns throughout the southern N.C. coast after the N.C. General Assembly in 2011 repealed a nearly 30-year-old ban on hardened beach erosion control structures. Legislators changed the law in 2015 to allow for up to six terminal groins. Holden Beach, the neighboring barrier island of Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick County and Figure Eight Island, a private barrier island in New Hanover County, are in various stages of the process of obtaining permits to build terminal groins at their inlets. Construction of a terminal groin at Bald Head Island, another Brunswick County barrier island, is well underway.

Stan Riggs, a coastal geologist and distinguished research professor at East Carolina University, said that the trouble with building terminal groins is that their potential effects are not isolated to one area, but rather the state’s entire coast. “This is not only an incredible coastal system, it’s an incredibly complex coastal system,” Riggs said. “The problem is everybody zeros in on one inlet. That’s like looking at one tree in the forest.” Holden Beach is part of a barrier island system in which 75 percent of the islands are considered “simple” barrier islands. These are low, narrow, sediment-poor islands Riggs calls “mobile piles of sand” and “energy absorbing sponges for the ocean.” The challenge with building structures on these islands is that people are putting “absolutes” on land that shifts and changes, he said. “Those islands have been changing forever and they’re going to continue to change,” Riggs said. “They’re storm dependent.” Storm surge creates the inlets at these islands. Inlets are like safety valves in that they act as outlets, allowing water pushed by powerful storms over and around barrier islands toward the mainland by storms to flow back out to sea. Lockwood Folly Inlet is one of the more stable inlets along the N.C. coast, Riggs said. “If you close it and lock it down the storm surge can’t use that as a safety valve,” he said. There are nine hardened erosion control structures along the state’s coast. Riggs showed how two of those structures, both terminal groins, have worked over the decades. The terminal groin built in the early 1960s in Beaufort Inlet at Fort Macon has shifted the erosion downstream, requiring regular dredging and pumping of sand onto Bogue Banks, Riggs said. A terminal groin built in the late 1980s at Oregon Inlet to protect the southern approach to the bridge over the inlet has created a sort-of erosion domino effect, Riggs said. “The rest of the island is collapsing all the way down to Rodanthe,” Riggs said. “Every example we have has never solved an erosion problem. It just pushes it down the island.” His prediction for Holden Beach is that the same will happen if a terminal groin is built at Lockwood Folly Inlet. “We need to let the natural system work a little bit,” Riggs said. He asked property owners to think about how they can live and move with the island. “We moved a lighthouse,” he said, referring to the 1999 relocation of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The lighthouse, facing an encroaching ocean, was moved 2,900 feet inland from where it had stood since 1870. “We can move anything,” Riggs said. “I want you to think about that because it’s more than just about that one little structure and a few houses.”

Some property owners and town commissioners already have raised concerns about how a terminal groin may affect the town’s proposed “central reach” project. This $15 million beach re-nourishment project would be the largest in the town’s history, placing up to 1.31 million cubic yards of sand along four miles of shoreline. The town board is currently discussing how to pay for the proposed project, which would be funded through a property tax rate increase. Commissioners have not discussed how the town would pay for a terminal groin.

Geoff Gisler, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said, if you assume the four-year modeling in the draft study is correct, a terminal groin would protect only about five or six houses at the east end. “If you read (the study) you might think of this as an existential threat of the whole island,” he said. “The model does not consider storm impacts. They’re only looking at chronic erosion. Although it describes ongoing and chronic erosion, the historical rates at the east end of the island are five to seven feet at the end of the year.” The model in the study creates a much higher rate of erosion – 20 feet a year. “None of the alternatives protect all of the houses,” Gisler said.

Town Commissioner John Fletcher said he is not yet prepared to state whether or not he supports the proposed project. “I think we still have a lot more to learn about,” he said. It is unclear when the Army Corps of Engineers will release the final EIS.
For more information »
click here
http://www.coastalreview.org/2016/05/14217/

My Two Cents - CR II

I have now attended three (3) community meetings with representatives from the North Carolina Coastal Federation. They made a pretty convincing argument against building a terminal groin at Holden Beach. The island is part of a dynamic coastal environment, and is prone to natural movement and change. Even assuming that the EIS model is correct, building a terminal groin will only provide limited protection to very few houses. Meanwhile for the rest of the island it creates greater risk of down drift damage caused by increased erosion further down the beach strand putting other property owners at risk. There are softer alternatives that will allow for natural processes to continue and for the natural habitat to keep evolving as it always has. Based on the presentation, only people who own oceanfront property at the east end of the island would support building a terminal groin here. The comparison of benefits between the various alternatives shows little added protection coming from a terminal groin with a price tag exceeding $35 million dollars. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that it does not make much sense to spend $35M to save $3M. Numbers almost look like they are a misprint, it’s not a misprint those are the numbers. That did it for me. The taxpayers of Holden Beach will be asked to pay for this structure. You need to ask – What’s it really going to get us? Nobody with even the most rudimentary knowledge of economics, would think that this makes sense. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing to talk about, the fiscal analysis sealed the deal for me. I am no longer on the fence, I CAN NOT SUPPORT building a terminal groin.

You cant always get what you want,
but if
you try sometimes, you might find,
you get what you need.


HBPOA


HBPOA recorded all the presentations for those who could not attend. 

You can view the slides and listen to the presentations on their website.

For more information » click here
http://holdenbeachpoa.com/beach-nourishment-2/terminal-groin/groin-information-session/


Update – October 2016

Timelapse is a zoomable video
See how the ends of Holden Beach and the inlets has changed over the past 32 years.

Having trouble viewing » click here
https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/#v=33.9185,-78.3125,11.973,latLng&t=2.21

After Hurricane Matthew, Ocean Isle Beach awaits terminal groin
Read more » click here

 

It’s a mystery to me –

 

 

OIB 750-foot terminal groin with an estimated construction cost of $5.7 million / @$7,600 foot

HB 1,000-foot terminal groin with an estimated construction cost of $2.5 million / @$2,500 foot

We plan on building a terminal groin that is 250’ longer but will cost $3.2 million less?
Granted that the plans may not be identical
But seriously, they are only going to be approximately ten miles apart
How different could they be?
Let me get this straight –
We plan to build for just 33% of the OIB estimated construction cost?
Terminal groin project is a boondoggle
Project will saddle Holden Beach taxpayers with a huge debt load.

What’s next?

The next steps include the following:
. 1)
Review Final EIS with USACE – November 2016
. 2) Publish final EIS – December 2016
. 3) Submit CAMA permit for review – December 2016
. 4) Public Hearing – January 2017
. 5) USACE record of decision – February 2017
. 6) Federal and State permit issuance – Spring 2017

My Two Cents - CR II

At the October meeting Dial Cordy, an independent environmental consulting firm that works for USACE, gave a presentation on the status of the proposed Terminal Groin. Dawn York gave a brief overview of the Holden Beach East End Shore Protection Project, reviewed the tasks that were completed to date and outlined timeline of what and when next steps were to be completed. As it stands right now, they have yet to publish the Final Environmental Impact Statement therefore they can’t proceed to the remaining steps. So apparently, everything else scheduled after that has been placed on indefinite hold.

Environmental group sues over Ocean Isle Beach terminal groin
Southern Environmental Law Center alleges U.S.A.C.E. did not consider alternatives.

It has been in the works for years, and Ocean Isle Beach officials were hopeful that a terminal groin project would get underway later this year, but the project planned for the Brunswick County barrier island has now run aground against another obstacle, at least temporarily.

On Monday and on behalf of Audubon North Carolina, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed suit in federal court challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the project. The lawsuit claims that the corps failed to objectively evaluate alternatives to the terminal groin, including those that would be less costly to local taxpayers and less destructive to the coast.
Read more » click here

National Audubon Society sues to stop OIB terminal groin
The National Audubon Society has challenged the Ocean Isle Beach terminal groin project by filing a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Read more » click here

Update – October 2017
Terminal Groin presentation was made on October of 2016, a year ago. We have had no communications from the Town regarding the status of our application. All the next step completion dates have come and gone. It would be nice if they kept us informed of the status of the tasks that still need to be completed.

Update – November 2017

HBPOA Meet the Candidates Night – Candidate Responses

Terminal Groin
Since 2011, the Town has pursued permits for a long-term East End beach nourishment Project that includes a Terminal Groin intended to slow downshore erosion along a portion of that beach. The Town’s draft Environmental Impact Statement necessary for the permits was first released in August 2015 and has been pending with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. According to the Town’s draft EIS, the Town’s long-term funding commitment for the project would be $30+ million. Please indicate which best describes your position on the Project.

Joe Butler 
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

John Fletcher –
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

Peter Freer
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

Pat Kwiatkowski –
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

 Mike Sullivan –
FAVOR CONTINUATION OF BEACH NOURISHMENT USING SAND FROM DREDGING LOCKWOOD FOLLY INLET, AND OPPOSE BUILDING TERMINAL GROIN

HBPOA Survey Results
Question #11

What should the Town do to combat chronic erosion on the East End of the island?
Regularly renourish the East End by dredging the inlet. / 185
Construct and maintain a terminal groin. / 95
Do nothing. / 54

There does not appear to be a lot of support for a terminal groin. With 239 out of 334 that chose an action, @72% of those responding DO NOT support building a terminal groin.

My Two Cents - CR II

I have been cogitating on the question of where we’re heading vis a vis building a terminal groin here. The combination of the HBPOA survey and the recent election results appear to point to us not moving forward with this project.

Update –  January 2018
Presentation by Clark Wright of Davis Hartman Wright,
Legal Advisor to the Board with Respect to Beach Protection and Other Environmental Issues

Holden Beach Terminal Groin – Fact / Status Sheet
January 16, 2018

  • Town involved in various evaluation, legislation and permitting efforts for 10+ years
  • 2009 CAMA LUP contains language supporting investigating feasibility of HBTG
  • Town provided lobbying funds, political and staff support for State enabling legislation (SB110)
  • BOC enacted Resolution to seek CAMA permit in 2011 (Resolution 11-12, dated 09-13-11
  • BOC effectively reaffirmed support in 2016 (see Minutes of January 2016 BOC Meeting)
  • Town expenditures to-date total to at least $637,161.00 (source: David Hewett)
    • $ 20,000                     “Save our Sand” Lobbyist
    • $401,332                    Dial Cordy – EIS drafting task – USACE 3rd Party Contractor
    • $ 16,889                     Surveying
    • $103,334                    Outside Legal Counsel Services Supporting Process
    • $ 93,305                     ATM – Engineer of Record
    • $ 2,301                      – (data collection; advertising; transcripts)
  • Actions to-date: 
    • USACE – lead federal agency – Section 10/404 Federal Permits – Responsible for EIS process, working with 3rd Party Contractor, Town and other stakeholders; process has covered 6+ years
    • USACE Scoping Meeting – Public Notice issued 02-28-12
    • USACE Public Notice of issuance of Draft EIS was issued on 08-28-15 (in connection with the Town’s Application for Section 10/404 Federal Permits authorizing TG)
    • “Inlet Management Plan” is included as part of Draft EIS
    • “Economic Analysis” addressing various alternatives included in the Draft EIS
    • USACE has provided final comments to Dial Cordy; issuance of the Final EIS is expected within 30 days; FEIS is expected to support preferred alternative for TG
  • Anticipated Future Actions (assumes process continues to move forward):
    • Issuance of the Final EIS within 30 days; FEIS will be published in Federal Register with a notice asking for final comments before USACE writes and publishes final “Record of Decision (“ROD”).”
    • The USACE ROD may be to adopt any of the alternatives described in the FEIS, including the “no action” alternative. It is anticipated that the USACE ROD will endorse the “preferred alternative” described in the DEIS/FEIS (i.e., recommend issuance of Federal Section 10 and Section 404 Permits authorizing construction and operation of a terminal groin at Lockwood Folly Inlet.)
    • Once the FEIS and ROD are published, the Town then can formally submit a Major Development CAMA Permit Application to the NC Division of Coastal Management (DCM). In addition to compliance with all CAMA rules and provisions, the CAMA Permit Application Package must comply with any mitigation measures described in the FEIS, as well as requirements as set forth in SB110, as amended – including financial assurances package that must receive review/approval from the NC Local Government Commission.  [NOTE:  The Town and its contractors have worked on a draft CAMA Permit Application Package; additional work remains to be done to address FEIS requirements; the “financial assurances” package has not been prepared, even in draft form; the Town Manager has obtained copies of packages submitted by several other TG applicants.]
    • Real Property Easements will have to be obtained by the Town from oceanfront property owners owning land where the proposed terminal groin comes ashore, as well as all areas where any physical portions of the structure would be located above mean high water. (Note that terminal groin structures run several hundred feet landward of the mean high-water mark.)
    • In addition to real property easements for the location of TG structures, it is likely that DCM will require the Town to identify and obtain easements from ocean front property owners located within the “service area” of the TG where beach nourishment activities are an integral part of the anticipated “beneficial” functioning of the TG. No easement legal work specific to the TG project has been undertaken by the Town Attorney to-date; parcel information regarding those ocean front property owners recently was provided to the Town Attorney by the Town Manager.  There appears to be overlap of these parcels with those tied to the TG project.  Potentially affected landowners have not received any formal notices or communications from the Town regarding these matters.
  • Related potentially relevant activities include:
    • Ongoing federal litigation filed by NC Audubon and SELC against USACE and OIB
    • Status of Figure Eight Island TG process, currently on hold
    • Status of Federal reauthorization of the NFIP
    • Existing SDI5 Permit, and potential modifications/renewal
    • Town Eastern Reach nourishment project(s)
    • Future repeats of Central Reach Project
    • Potential actions by Brunswick County (Jetty? Purchase of dredge? Other?)
    • Relationship with Oak Island?
    • Relationship with General Assembly?
    • Relationship with NC State Government?
    • Status of endangered species, including sea turtles and sea bird species?
    • Relationships with commercial/recreational fishing interests?
    • Relationships with oceanfront property owners?
    • Potential legal challenges naming Town as a party
    • Potential to cooperate with various NGO’s
    • Establishment of permanent beach and inlet management standing committee or board

My Two Cents - CR IIWe already invested over six hundred and thirty-seven thousand dollars ($637,111) so far. We either continue to support moving forward or cut our losses and pull the plug. We should have already gotten the permit. Once we have the permit in hand, we will have to decide whether to fund it or not. I anticipate an unexpected denouement.

Update – February 2018

What’s next?

The next steps include the following:
.    
1) USACE final EIS published by February 23rd
.     2 ) Public comment period begins – 30 days
    3) USACE Record of Decision (ROD)
.     4) CAMA application completed
    5) Federal and State permit issuance / Permits expire in five (5) years

Breaking News –
All content related assembly of the master document has occurred. Files are being formatted for publishing in the federal register. Anticipate an early March publishing date in the federal register.

Update – March 2018

Holden Beach awaits permits for terminal groin project
Holden Beach’s proposed terminal groin remains mired in the permitting process, six years after town officials approved moving forward with the project. Though the terminal groin project has been going through the permitting process for the past several years, Hewett said the environmental-impact statement (EIS) for the project has nearly been completed and should be posted to the federal register in the coming days. After the project is posted, there will be a 30-day comment period followed by a “record of decision” by the Army Corps of Engineers. If the corps’ decision is favorable, Hewett said the town still has to obtain a Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) permit for the project from the N.C. Division of Coastal Management (DCM). If the town obtains all the permits necessary, Hewett said it will be up to the town’s commissioners on whether to fund construction.
Read more » click here

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Wilmington District Commander -Colonel Clark- has signed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).  Dial Cordy and the Corps program manager are finalizing the digitization of the document for Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) publishing. The USACE on March 15th released the FEIS for the Holden Beach East End Shore Protection Project.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement  can be found on the USACE website

Holden Beach Terminal Groin – Corps ID # SAW-2011-01914

This request is from the Town of Holden Beach for a terminal groin and beach fill project in waters of the US.  The proposed terminal groin is one component of the Town of Holden Beach’s ongoing comprehensive beach management program, described in the Holden Beach 2009 Beach Management Plan. A terminal groin structure on the eastern end of Holden Beach is an alternative that is being considered as the preferred method to reduce the high erosion losses that have historically occurred at the east end of Holden Beach, in addition to proactive sand management of Lockwoods Folly Inlet.
For more information » click here

The Public Notice can be found on the USACE website

SAW-2011-019143/15/2018: The Wilmington District, Corps of Engineers (Corps) received an application from the Town of Holden Beach (Town) seeking Department of the Army authorization to discharge fill material into waters of the United States, associated with the construction of a 700-ft-long terminal groin with a 300-ft shore anchorage system and associated long-term beach nourishment component, in order to address erosion and protect infrastructure, roads, homes, beaches, dunes and wildlife habitat in Holden Beach, Brunswick County, North Carolina. Specific plans and location information are described below and shown on the attached plans. This notice serves to announce the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Holden Beach East End Shore Protection Project in accordance with 33 CFR 325 Appendix B, and 40 CFR 1502.19 – 1506.10. Comments will be received for 30 days, with an end comment period date of April 16, 2018. Comments received from the FEIS will be used in the development of a Record of Decision (ROD) for this project.
Expiration date: 4/16/2018
For more information » click here

The Town, prior to the report, indicated it Preferred Alternative 6: Intermediate Terminal Groin with Beach Nourishment. Any form of engagement with those preparing the report influences the independence, objectivity, integrity and credibility of the research.  It appears that the report is designed to provide a justification for the applicant’s preferred alternative.

A Fiscal Analysis of Shifting Inlets and Terminal Groins in NC
By Andrew Coburn Associate Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University
Based on this study, PSDS has determined that:
.     1)
Assessed value does not reflect the potential fiscal impacts of shifting inlets to the state or local governments from erosion due to shifting inlets,
.    2) The fiscal benefits of protecting property at-risk to shifting inlets are small compared to the costs of protection,
    3) The use of terminal groins would provide limited fiscal and economic benefits to state taxpayers and local communities an
   
4) Long-term costs of a terminal groin exceed potential long-term benefits at every developed NC inlet. This analysis indicates that, even ignoring environmental concerns, terminal groins are not a fiscally-sound strategy for dealing with coastal property at-risk to shifting inlets and, due to their limited fiscal benefits, the expenditure of state funds for groin construction/maintenance is bad public policy.
For more information » click here

Although the report is dated Coburn’s position is that terminal groins simply do not make financial sense for municipalities.


Terminal groin expansion worries environmental groups
The town of Holden Beach and other coastal towns continue to explore the option of putting a terminal groin along their shore, which has environmental groups like the North Carolina Coastal Federation upset. The Army Corps of Engineers released their final environmental impact statement for the Holden Beach project on March 15 and outlines the specifics of the proposed plan. Tracy Skrabal, with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, said Bald Head Island is the only beach to currently have terminal groins in the area, but Ocean Isle Beach, Figure 8 Island, and Holden beach all have permits in for consideration after a ban was overturned in 2011. “When you start to see larger storms of intensity and duration, as we already see, then we will see people get fairly desperate for ways to protect their properties,” said Skrabal. “Harden structures are often looked at as a potential solution, which we do not agree with.” Skrabal said terminal groins are often made of stone and rock and placed at the end of beaches in an effort to stop erosion, which she said could be harmful to the ecosystem.  “These really have the potential because of their size and location to damage really critical habitats,” she said. “What we also see is that they don’t really function for their purpose. They may protect 10, 12, maybe 20 properties, but they can also cause erosion down stream.” The Coastal Federation hopes towns will look into more environmentally friendly methods of conservation.  “Beach nourishment, which is happening right now at Wrightsville Beach is a tried and true method of basically buying time on these dynamic systems,” said Skrabal. It functions as intended, which is to move the shoreline out and allow the storms to buffer if you will.” The public can comment in writing on the project through April 16. Skrabal said she hopes the community educates themselves what ever side of the issue they fall. “At Holden Beach, maybe you get protection for 10 to 20 properties on the east side of the island at an expense of 30 to 40 million dollars over the next 30 years with no guarantees,” she said. “There is potential for harm to the natural ecosystem, to our natural beach access as property owners and visitors, and for erosion on the other side of the inlet.” WECT reached out to Holden Beach leaders for a comment on the project but have not heard back.
Read more » click here

BOC’s SPECIAL MEETING / March 21, 2018                
    1)
Direct Attorney Clark Wright to Submit a Request for a 30-Day Extension to the Comment Period Related to the Terminal Groin Final Environmental Impact Study
.     2)
Direct All Town Officials and Staff to Suspend All Efforts Towards Gaining the Federal and CAMA Permits Related to the Terminal Groin Project Until After a Board Decision is Made, No Sooner Than April 6th

Holden Beach Calls ‘Time Out’ on Groin Plan
The town board of commissioners has voted to put on hold all work toward getting a permit to build terminal groin and to seek more time for public comment on the proposed structure. The action comes just days after the Army Corps of Engineers released the final environmental study for the project that’s been in the works for the past two and a half years.

The board voted Wednesday during a special meeting to direct attorney Clark Wright to submit a request for a 30-day extension to the comment period related to the final environmental impact study, or FEIS, for the town’s proposed terminal groin. The Corps released the study March 15. Public comments were to be received for 30 days, or until April 16.

The board also approved in a unanimous vote a motion that no town employee, agent, contractor, subcontractor or person representing the town before any federal or state agency shall take action that advances or terminates the current application process related to the terminal groin prior to a vote of the board of commissioners that restores such authority. The motion excludes work by Wright, the attorney who is working as a consultant to the town on the project.

The project was proposed to address chronic erosion at the eastern end of the 8.1-mile-long barrier island. Erosion has led to dune breaching and flooding along the east end of town and has resulted in the loss of about 27 oceanfront properties since 1993. Average long-term erosion rates along the most affected area ranges from a loss of 3 to 8 feet per year, among the highest in the state, according to the study.

The town had sought a permit to build a 700-foot-long terminal groin with a 300-foot shore anchorage system to be supplemented with a long-term plan for beach re-nourishment. The structure would also include a 120-foot-long “T-head” segment centered on the seaward end of the main stem to help minimize potential rip currents and sand losses during extreme wave conditions.

Critics have said the $34.4 million project would benefit only a handful of homes, protect less than $1.2 million in tax revenue over 30 years and push chronic erosion at the east end of Holden Beach to spots farther down the beach.

Town Manager David Hewett said the board’s action was a reflection of public concerns with the project. Three of the five town commissioners, Sullivan, Kwiatkowski and Commissioner Joseph Butler, were elected to their first terms in November in a race in which the terminal groin plan was at issue. “It’s a matter of record that a number of folks ran on that platform,” Hewett told Coastal Review Online Thursday. “The fact that they’re providing an extended period to gather more information is part of a larger desire to serve the public will. Calling a time out in the middle of a game is evidence that something is important.”
Read more » click here

NC Department of Environmental Quality Division of Coastal Management
Terminal groins do have an impact on the natural ocean and inlet shoreline position; they may be successful in slowing erosion or may cause adverse impacts on the downdrift shoreline due to interruption of the natural sediment transport system.  

Terminal groin expansion worries environmental groups
The town of Holden Beach and other coastal towns continue to explore the option of putting a terminal groin along their shore, which has environmental groups like the North Carolina Coastal Federation upset. The Army Corps of Engineers released their final environmental impact statement for the Holden Beach project on March 15 and outlines the specifics of the proposed plan. 

Tracy Skrabal, with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, said Bald Head Island is the only beach to currently have terminal groins in the area, but Ocean Isle Beach, Figure 8 Island, and Holden beach all have permits in for consideration after a ban was overturned in 2011. “When you start to see larger storms of intensity and duration, as we already see, then we will see people get fairly desperate for ways to protect their properties,” said Skrabal. “Harden structures are often looked at as a potential solution, which we do not agree with.”

Skrabal said terminal groins are often made of stone and rock and placed at the end of beaches in an effort to stop erosion, which she said could be harmful to the ecosystem. “These really have the potential because of their size and location to damage really critical habitats,” she said. “What we also see is that they don’t really function for their purpose. They may protect 10, 12, maybe 20 properties, but they can also cause erosion downstream.”

The Coastal Federation hopes towns will look into more environmentally friendly methods of conservation. “Beach nourishment, which is happening right now at Wrightsville Beach is a tried and true method of basically buying time on these dynamic systems,” said Skrabal. It functions as intended, which is to move the shoreline out and allow the storms to buffer if you will.”

The public can comment in writing on the project through April 16. Skrabal said she hopes the community educates themselves whatever side of the issue they fall. “At Holden Beach, maybe you get protection for 10 to 20 properties on the east side of the island at an expense of 30 to 40 million dollars over the next 30 years with no guarantees,” she said. “There is potential for harm to the natural ecosystem, to our natural beach access as property owners and visitors, and for erosion on the other side of the inlet.”
Read more » click here

Holden Beach extends comment period for terminal groin project
Those who want to provide public comment on Holden Beach’s proposed terminal groin project received a 30-day extension to do so following a unanimous decision by Commissioners March 21.

Commissioners directed Clark Wright, environmental lawyer with Davis Hartman Wright in New Bern and a consultant for the town, to submit a request to the Army Corps of Engineers for the extension to the comment period on the Terminal Groin Final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS). The corps released its final environmental impact statement for the project March 15, with public comments originally accepted until April 16.

“This is a very detail-oriented FEIS. We need multiple scheduled meetings in order to inform everyone, answer questions, get public comment,” commissioner Pat Kwiatkowski said during the meeting. “So, a 30-day extension actually gives us three previously scheduled town meetings in order to thoroughly vet and get comments.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Sullivan made a motion that no employee, agent, contractor, subcontractor or person representing the town before any federal or state agency shall take any action or file any motion which advances or terminates the current application process related to the terminal groin before a vote by the board of commissioners. Commissioner John Fletcher seconded. Sullivan said they needed to add that this excludes any of Wright’s work, and Fletcher agreed with the amendment.

Holden Beach intends to build a 700-foot-long terminal groin with a 300-foot shore anchorage system and associated long-term beach nourishment component on the east end of the island, according to a public notice released by the corps. The purpose is to establish a shoreline protection program under Holden Beach’s authority, which will help to restore and maintain the east end of the island. The groin will help with short- and long-term protection of residential and town infrastructures and recreational areas, helping to stabilize the beach as well as preventing erosion.  

Following the end of the comment period, there will be a record of decision by the corps. If the corps favors the groin, the town still has to get a Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) permit for the project from the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management. Once all permits are in hand, commissioners will vote on whether to fund the groin’s construction.
Read more » click here


Update – April 2018

BOC’s REGULAR MEETING / April 6, 2018    

Clark Wright briefly described where we are at in the process
EIS is not a decision document, it is the basis for USACE permit decision
Record of Decision (ROD) is the USACE decision document
Permit Issuance is the federal authorization to implement the project

. a. Spencer Rodgers, North Carolina Sea Grant
North Carolina Sea Grant provides unbiased, science-based information to enhance the sustainable use and conservation of ocean and coastal resources to benefit communities, the economy and the environment.
For more information » click here

Beachfill alone is not cost effective in high erosion areas, typical of unstabilized inlets. Downdrift erosion has serious significant negative impact. Simply stated, one side of the terminal groin benefits and the other side doesn’t. In general, he recommends terminal groins are a reasonable option.

Position – PRO

. b. Fran Way, Applied Technology and Management (ATM)
*
Presentation in Agenda Packet
ATM is a coastal engineering and consulting firm hired by the town
For more information » click here

Almost half of the east coast inlets have some hard structure there. A terminal groin will increase beach nourishment longevity from two (2) to four (4) years. The project will save twelve (12) million dollars over thirty (30) years, compared to nourishment only alternative. The model projects no downdraft effects to the Central Reach Project shoreline. ATM recommends that we continue to move the process forward and get permit. We do not necessarily have to build the terminal groin now, but we would have the option to do so in the future.

Position – PRO

. c. Steve Dial, Dial Cordy & Associates
*
Presentation in Agenda Packet
Dial Cordy and Associates provides comprehensive ecological assessment, environmental planning, and regulatory compliance services.

Position – PRO

No Show. Frankly I was disappointed that they were not in attendance. We have already invested over six hundred and thirty-seven thousand dollars ($637,111) so far. The bulk of that money went to Dial Cordy. You’d think for the money we spent with them that they could have managed to send someone to make a presentation of the work we contracted them to do for us.

. d. Professor Andy Coburn, Western Carolina University
Associate Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS)
PSDS – Science. Policy. Education. Outreach. Coastal.
For more information » click here

Coburn was unable to be at the meeting but sent his written comments that Clark read
Terminal groin will not achieve stated objectives
The cost to build and maintain groin will exceed any benefits
It’s fiscally irresponsible to use public funds to build the groin
A terminal groin does not make fiscal sense

Position – CON

. e. Geoff Gisler, Southern Environmental Law Center
A nonprofit organization that works to create, strengthen, and enforce the laws and policies that determine the beauty and health of our environment.
For more information » click here

National Environmental Policy Act is a environmental law that promotes the enhancement of the environment. Presentation was what’s to be gained or not gained by building the groin.

Considered three alternatives
. 1)
Alt#1 – do what we have been doing
. 2) Alt#2 – do absolutely nothing
. 3)
Alt#6 – do groin project

The groin as modeled saved just ten (10) more properties then the other alternatives. Very little to be gained at a huge financial and environmental cost. Debunked the alleged twelve (12) million-dollar savings by building the groin. Geoff demonstrated that it was a seriously flawed economic analysis. The modelling did not remotely reflect the reality of what we have experienced here. His recommendation is to withdraw the application request for a permit. A better path forward would be to continue to do what we have been doing.

Position – CON

. f. Mike Giles, North Carolina Coastal Federation
The North Carolina Coastal Federation is a member-supported 501(c)3 that is focused on protecting and restoring the North Carolina coast.
For more information » click here

NCCF objected to building the terminal groin
Mike reiterated that there were better ways to address the issue
He put us on notice – if CAMA permit is issued then they will legally challenge it in court
In other words, he all but guaranteed litigation

Position – CON

. g. Jay Holden of Dunescape Property Owners Association
Dunescape is a private gated community on the east end of the island. They support continued nourishment at the east end of the island. But they oppose the construction of the groin. A terminal groin has limited and uncertain effectiveness and is a slippery slope. Jay stressed the importance of also keeping the inlet orientation south-southwest as a critical nourishment piece. Their position is for us to just continue to do what we have been since that’s working.

Position – CON

. h. John Witten of Holden Beach Property Owners Association
*
Presentation in Agenda Packet
The Holden Beach Property Owners Association is a voluntary organization whose mission is to represent the property owners of Holden Beach as a unified voice regarding issues that affect their common interests and concerns.
For more information » click here

USACE by working at a glacial pace did us a favor. We got to see what actually happened at the east end vs. what the modelling projected. The justification for the project is strictly about economics. The evidence provided appears to be just made up numbers that don’t reflect our actual experiences. The proposed terminal groin is a pilot project, an experiment if you will, that is too big a risk to take. This is a thirty-year commitment, with big fixed future costs. We cannot afford to take this risk with our limited resources. Instead we should continue doing what we have been doing and remain flexible keeping our options open. This is the moment of truth – there is no more information to be had and there is the threat of costly litigation. It’s time to move on!

HBPOA Resolution
RESOLVED, that the membership of the HBPOA urges the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach to: (i) continue with the same very successful and very cost-effective east end beach nourishment and Lockwood Folly Inlet strategies as have been in place for the past 15 years; (ii) stop spending the Town’s money and resources in pursuit of the Terminal Groin Project; and (iii) withdraw the Town’s pending Federal permit application and not apply for State permits (reserving the ability to reapply at a later date, subject to USACE consent).

Position – CON

Terminal Groins if properly designed and sited can work with minimum negative adverse conservational impact. That said, the question then becomes does it make sense economically. No doubt there are many and conflicting opinions (Pros vs. Cons) but a dearth of economic analysis with nothing even remotely resembling a cost-benefit analysis. Even assuming that it made sense to build the HB terminal groin, one must ask how will we pay for it? The state law says we can’t use special obligation bonds, non-voted general obligation bonds or financing contracts. We could use BPART funds except we have been spending most of the money that we take in annually. In addition, we have committed to take an additional $500,000 annually from BPART account fund to pay down the Central Reach Project debt, which will further deplete the BPART account funds. The BPART fund balance has less than two (2) million dollars in it. But wait, there’s more! The Board has established a goal of setting aside one (1) million dollars a year for beach nourishment in a Capital Reserve Fund that is to be taken from the BPART fund account too. That leaves only tax increases. So, a tax increase will be required to pay for the initial construction and ongoing maintenance, monitoring and nourishment. Back of the envelope calculation, taxes the first year would have an additional cost of $1,898 for a $500,000 home. The costs averaged over the thirty (30) years would result in an increase of $.096 per year. In other words, given a property with an assessed value of $500,000 your property taxes will increase by $14,400 over the thirty (30) year time horizon. Just to be clear, these numbers are based on the most optimistic financial scenarios. That is expenses are in today’s dollars, the borrowing costs or loan rate is ridiculously low and with no projected cost overruns.


Public Weighs In on Holden Beach Groin
This town would be better off sticking with beach re-nourishment projects and forego the prospect of building a terminal groin, a structure that critics say is too costly a risk with an uncertain outcome. A majority of those who spoke Friday during a town meeting about the nearly 1,900-page final environmental impact study, or FEIS, which identifies a terminal groin as the preferred erosion control method at the island’s east end, urged town commissioners to drop pursuing the permits to build one.

“Now we’ve come to a moment of truth,” said John Witten, treasurer of the Holden Beach Property Owners Association. “This is too big a risk. There’s a reason the (state) statute calls this a pilot project. We’re the guinea pigs here.” Witten, one of about a half-dozen people asked to formally address commissioners at the meeting Friday night, was referring to the 2011 state law amendment that ended a decades-old ban on coastal hardened structures.

When legislators initially repealed the ban, the statute allowed for the construction of up to four terminal groins on the North Carolina coast. That number has since been bumped to six terminal groins. Terminal groins are wall-like structures built perpendicular to the shore at inlets to contain sand in areas of high erosion.

Erosion rates on beaches near inlets are often higher than that of other beach areas because of the way inlets naturally oscillate. That natural movement of the Lockwood Folly Inlet, which separates Holden Beach and Oak Island, has resulted in long-term erosion on the east end of Holden Beach. For 50 years, sand has routinely been pumped onto the eastern end of the 8.1-mile-long barrier island. Sandbags have also been placed along the shore throughout the years as a temporary means to protect homes and properties. By 1993, 28 properties and structures had been destroyed as a result of erosion.

Some in the town, including longtime Mayor Alan Holden, believe a terminal groin is a long-term solution to protecting properties and infrastructure on the east end shore.

The FEIS, a document that examines potential shoreline erosion control alternatives created by an engineering firm hired by the town, was released last month by the Army Corps of Engineers. The public comment period on the document ends April 16. The preferred alternative is a 700-foot-long terminal groin with a 300-foot shore anchorage system. The proposed structure would also include a 120-foot-long “T-head” segment centered on the seaward end of the main stem to help minimize the potential rip currents and sand losses during extreme wave conditions. The estimated $34.4 million project would include a long-term beach re-nourishment plan to supplement the structure.

Commissioners announced during a prior meeting that they would not be taking action Friday.

Coastal engineer and geologist Spencer Rogers with North Carolina Sea Grant said maintaining sand in near-inlet areas like the east end of Holden Beach is challenging because of the high erosion rates in those areas. “Beach nourishment in some areas clearly is not going to work,” Rogers said. In high-erosion areas, including near-inlet areas, re-nourishment is not cost-effective, he said, and therefore would benefit from “properly designed” terminal groins, he said. Rogers, a member of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission Science Panel and CRC Advisory Council, said he’s recommending terminal groins be included in the CRC’s permitting kit.

Fran Way, a senior coastal engineer with Applied Technology and Management Inc., the firm that drafted the EIS for the town, said the town would save $12 million over 30 years if it builds a terminal groin. “The design is increasing the beach nourishment longevity from two years to four years,” he said. “To increase that longevity means that you’re saving money.” He encouraged commissioners, who last month voted to put on hold pursuing federal and state permits to build a terminal groin, to move ahead with obtaining the permits. Then, he said, the town would have that tool in their pocket should commissioners decide a few years from now to build a groin.

If the town moves ahead with the permitting process, officials there could expect a legal challenge, said Mike Giles, who recently retired as a coastal advocate with the North Carolina Coastal Federation. “There are better ways,” Giles said. “Look at the beach now. It cost you very little and you have a better beach now than you would if you construct a terminal groin.”

Neighboring Ocean Isle Beach’s plans to build a terminal groin were put on hold last August when a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Audubon North Carolina. The lawsuit, filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center, challenges the Corps’ analysis of the project.

Critics of terminal groins argue the hardened structures come with too big a price tag – both fiscally and environmentally – to justify what they argue benefits a small number of homes.

Andy Coburn, associate director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, said in a written statement to Holden Beach commissioners that a terminal groin does not make fiscal sense. Coburn wrote, “it is my professional opinion that the public cost of building and maintaining a terminal groin at Lockwood Folly Inlet will exceed public benefits by a factor of ten over the project’s 30-year planning horizon, and any benefits that do accrue will be grossly inequitable in their distribution.” Funding the construction, maintenance, monitoring and re-nourishment associated with the structure, Coburn wrote, “is fiscally irresponsible and could well be viewed as a breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of the decision makers responsible for the health, safety and public welfare of (the) Town of Holden Beach, its citizens and the many thousands more who visit – often for the primary purpose of using and enjoying the public beaches on Holden Beach.” If a terminal groin does prevent damage to every property for 30 years after construction, the associated costs would “still be ten times greater than the maximum possible return ($1.8 million) the town can possibly hope to recoup,” Coburn wrote. Worst-case scenario, he wrote, the groin fails, leaving the town with nothing in return and legal challenges “that will inevitably arise.” “Even though the actual outcome is likely to fall somewhere between the two extremes, it is clear that the cost of building and maintaining a terminal groin at Lockwood Folly Inlet will exceed maximum potential benefits IN EVERY SINGLE CASE – even if the proposed project works exactly as project proponents and consulting engineers hope AND without one single detrimental environmental impact,” Coburn wrote. The town should, instead, continue to re-nourish the beach, a method that has been proven beneficial in Holden Beach, proponents of that alternative argued.

Jay Holden, a member of the board of directors of the Dunescape Property Owners’ Association, said the town has not lost a home to erosion since 2001. “We oppose the groin because it has a very limited and uncertain effectiveness that is far outweighed by the risk and the cost,” Holden said. The association supports dredging the inlet, nourishing the beach and urging the Corps to keep the inlet ebb channel at a south-southwest orientation.

Geoff Gisler, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, also suggested the town continue to re-nourish the beach rather than build a groin. The modeling in the FEIS is based on 10-year-old data, is misleading and inaccurate, he said. Last year, about 120,000 cubic yards of sand was placed on the east end of the island, Gisler said. The state paid a significant share of the cost, leaving the town to pick up about $76,000 of the $465,000 price tag. “We also have the beach and we have seen what nourishment over the last 10 years has done to the beach,” Gisler said. “The beach is significantly wider than it was in 2008. It’s in very good shape.”

The town’s most recent re-nourishment project put about 1.3 million cubic yards of sand along about a 4-mile stretch of oceanfront in the middle of the island. The first phase of the $15 million Central Reach project wrapped in March 2017. That project is protecting about 450 to 500 homes, Witten said, a far greater number than the 2,500 feet of beach at the east end. “You, the taxpayers of Holden Beach are picking up the bill for the terminal groin,” he said. “We don’t have the money. We cannot afford to take this kind of risk with our limited resources.” He reminded commissioners that they all said they opposed a terminal groin in a candidate questionnaire they filled out last fall prior to the town elections. “We’ve spent $630,000 and what we’ve got is a big stack of books,” Witten said. “It’s a terrible shame that we’ve lost that amount of money. We can’t keep doing this year after year. The time to call into question is now. Now it’s time to move on and protect the east end of the island and keep doing what we’re doing in the channel.”
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Speakers oppose terminal groin for Holden Beach
Most of the people who spoke about Holden Beach’s proposed terminal groin voiced opposition to it during commissioners’ regular meeting April 6.

Holden Beach intends to build a 700-foot-long terminal groin with a 300-foot shore anchorage system and associated long-term beach nourishment component on the east end of the island, according to a public notice released by Army Corps of Engineers. The purpose is to establish a shoreline protection program under Holden Beach’s authority, which will help to restore and maintain the east end of the island. The groin will help with short- and long-term protection of residential and town infrastructures and recreational areas, helping to stabilize the beach as well as preventing erosion.

Friday’s meeting was informational, with commissioners taking no action.

Spencer Rodgers of North Carolina Sea Grant said an analysis shows beach nourishment alone is not cost effective and a terminal groin is the more sensible option.

Fran Way of Applied Technology and Management also spoke in favor of the project. Way said data show a terminal groin can save the town $12 million over a 30-year period.

Dial Cordy & Associates provided commissioners with a presentation in their agenda packet with informational slides about the terminal groin.

The remainder of the speakers opposed the project.

Clark Wright, legal advisor to the board on beach protection and environmental issues, volunteered to read a statement from Andy Coburn, associate director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University:

“In a hypothetical best-case scenario in which construction of a terminal groin prevents damage for every structure/property for 30 years, the net present value cost of (the terminal groin project) ($19 million) is still 10 times greater than the maximum possible return ($1.8 million) the town can possibly hope to recoup from its investment,” Coburn’s statement read. “An alternative … is for Holden Beach to increase its municipal tax rate by approximately one-third of 1 percent. Doing so will offset all lost revenue over 30 years, and cost the owner of a median-value occupied house an average of about $6 a year. “Conversely, in a hypothetical, worst-case scenario, Holden Beach spends $19 million, the groin fails, the town receives absolutely nothing in return and has to deal with a number of legal challenges that inevitably will arise. Even though the actual outcome is likely to fall somewhere between the two extremes, it is clear that the cost of the building and maintaining a terminal groin at Lockwood Folly Inlet will exceed maximum potential benefits in every single case — even if the proposed project works exactly as project proponents and consulting engineers hope and without one single detrimental environmental impact.”

Geoff Gisler represented the Southern Environmental Law Center, an organization that champions a healthy environment, and discussed the National Environmental Policy Act, which promotes the enhancement of the environment. Gisler encouraged the board to withdraw its application request for a permit for a project, and continue beach renourishment as it has in the past. He cited the final environmental impact statement from the corps, which shows the town has little to gain from a terminal groin project versus the beach nourishment it undertakes now.

Mike Giles, representing the North Carolina Coastal Federation, told commissioners if the Coastal Area Management Act permit is issued to the town to proceed with the terminal groin, the federation will challenge it in court. He said the beach nourishment the town is already doing is more cost effective and has a better environmental impact. “There’s a better way,” Giles said.

Jay Holden represented the property owners’ association for Dunescape, a gated private community on Holden Beach’s east end, and said its board favors renourishing the beach, but disagrees with the town on “the best way to achieve it.” Holden said the POA board supports the continued dredging of Lockwood Folly Inlet for renourishment, and emphasized the importance of keeping the orientation of the inlet south by southwest, “maintaining the historical width and depth,” and is a “favorable orientation for limiting erosion.” He said dredging of the inlet has led to no houses being lost to erosion since 2001. “We believe in continuing what has worked for the last 17 years,” he said.

The last to speak for the evening was John Witten, representing the Holden Beach Property Owners Association. Witten, a member of the property owners association committee to evaluate the terminal groin and Tom Myers, president of the property owners association, both said before Friday’s meeting the terminal groin is far too costly. Witten compared a potential terminal groin to the town’s Central Reach Project, which placed up to 1.31 million cubic yards of sand along 4.1 miles of Holden Beach shoreline, from 240 Ocean Blvd. E. to 781 Ocean Blvd. W. Town Manager David Hewett previously said the design life on the recently completed project is 10 to 15 years. “One of the main points people have made is, you’re protecting 4.1 miles of beach nourishment at a cost that works out to be about $1 million a year,” Witten said. “Terminal groin, same cost, 2,500 feet of beach. Central Reach (protecting) almost 500 houses, terminal groin (protecting) 30 houses. So that is a big issue … why are we putting so many resources into one small area?” “The beach is better now than it was 15 years ago,” Myers said. “Before 2001 they weren’t doing any sort of nourishment. So that’s when houses were being lost … since 2001, 2002 ,it’s in better shape now. And it’s really not much money because the state will pay two-thirds; we split the other third. “When you look at what we’ve spent and what we’ve got, it’s like, why mess with something that’s working?”
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USACE PUBLIC NOTICE

Issue Date:  April 13, 2018
Comment Deadline: May 4, 2018
Corps Action ID: SAW-2011-01914

All interested parties are hereby advised that the Wilmington District, Corps of Engineers (Corps) is extending the commenting period on the permit application request made by the Town of Holden Beach for the Town’s plan to implement a shoreline protection project along the east end of the island, which consist of the construction of a terminal groin along the Lockwood Folly Inlet, in Brunswick County, North Carolina.  This notice amends our March 15, 2018 Public Notice seeking comments on the Town’s permit request and extends that notice’s commenting period to May 4, 2018.
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BOC’s REGULAR MEETING / April 6, 2018 

RESOLUTION 18-02 / Withdrawal of All Applications for Terminal Groin

WHEREAS, on September 13, 2011 The Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution 11-12, directing the Town Manager “to make application to the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management/Coastal Resources Commission for a permit to construct a Terminal Groin on the east end of Holden Beach adjacent to the Lockwood Folly Inlet;” and

WHEREAS, thereafter the Town Manager executed various contracts and agreements with, among others, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Dial Cordy & Associates, a surveying company, outside legal counsel, and others for the purpose of applying to the USACE for Section 10 and Section 404 permits, and preparing the associated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation; and

WHEREAS, various public scoping meetings and interagency team meetings have been conducted, and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) produced, with the FEIS signed on March 8, 2018, and officially noticed to the public on March 15, 2018, thereby commencing a final 30-day comment period, after which the USACE normally would draft, sign and publicly notice its final Record of Decision (ROD) document, constituting the agency’s final decision on the Town’s pending federal permit applications; and

WHEREAS, the Division of Coastal Management (DCM) previously informed the Town that no permit applications for a terminal groin may be made to that agency until the aforementioned federal NEPA process associated with the Town’s pending Section 10 and Section 404 permit applications is complete; and

WHEREAS, the Town has noticed and conducted special and regular meetings of the Board of Commissioners, including a Regular Meeting held on April 6, 2018, where the entire meeting agenda was devoted to obtaining information from a number of experts, engineers, environmental interest groups, property owner associations, property owners and other interested members of the public; and

WHEREAS, on December 19, 2017, the Town retained special outside environmental counsel to advise the Board and Town Attorney on issues related to shoreline protection, specifically including assessment of the pending Lockwood Folly Inlet Terminal Groin project; and

WHEREAS, the federal permit process described above was commenced by the Town without any meaningful cost benefit analysis or stated plan in place for the required 30-year (and longer) funding of the long-term costs of the project, obtaining necessary easements or permissions from private property owners directly affected by the proposed construction of the terminal groin or funding for any of the necessary financial instruments required to maintain the terminal groin; and

WHEREAS, the analyses contained in the DEIS and FEIS of the positive and negative physical impacts of the terminal groin on beach front properties it is intended to protect, on other beach front properties and on the involved inlet are based on computer models done based upon out-ofdate data and without regard to more recent coastline and inlet changes, and is not modified to consider material issues from the perspective of a local unit of government, such as the Town of Holden Beach, or its governing Board of Commissioners, who are charged by law to act only in the best interests of ALL of the Town’s citizens and residents, and ALL guests who come to use and enjoy the Town’s ocean beaches and other amenities; and

WHEREAS, over the past two years, the Town has completed the Central Reach Project to the west of the beach areas proposed to be affected by the terminal groin project, and the Town has engaged in significant beach nourishment on the East End, including beach nourishment utilizing low cost sand available as a by-product of the continued dredging of the Lockwood Folly Inlet at costs orders of magnitude lower than costs utilized by the USACE in the DEIS and FEIS; and

WHEREAS, a number of leading coastal scientists, including Dr. Stan Riggs and Dr. Len Pietrafesa, have expressed serious concerns and opposition to the use of terminal groins generally, and the proposed Lockwood Folly Inlet Terminal Groin in particular; and

WHEREAS, Professor Andrew Coburn of Western Carolina University, Associate Director of the Program For the Study of Developed Shorelines has written the Town a letter, dated April 5, 2018, in which Professor Coburn states that the Town’s proposed Terminal Groin project “will not achieve any of the town’s aforementioned objectives” (emphasis in original) and that it is his professional opinion that this project “is fiscally irresponsible and a breach of fiduciary duty” for the Board of Commissioners to support; and

WHEREAS, each Member of the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners has carefully reviewed not only the DEIS and FEIS, but also many hundreds of pages of relevant data, information, published articles, and other published environmental documents, including the confidential report and public notebooks prepared for each Member of the Board by its special environmental counsel, as well as the environmental documents associated with the Ocean Isle Beach terminal groin project, the Bald Head Island terminal groin project, the Figure Eight Island terminal groin project and the recently published FEIS for the Bogue Banks 50 year renourishment project (in which document a terminal groin alternative was discussed in detail and rejected); and

WHEREAS, during its April 6, 2018 Regular Meeting devoted to review of the proposed Lockwood Folly Inlet Terminal Groin project, the Board of Commissioners was informed by officials representing the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and the North Carolina Coastal Federation (NCCF) that issuance of the pending federal permits and any subsequent issuance of a CAMA Permit by DCM – would result in federal and state litigation challenging such permits and associated NEPA documentation; and

WHEREAS, while the Board of Commissioners does not consider the threat of such litigation as a material or substantive basis for the making of its decisions, the Board does consider such information relevant to the Board’s overall duty to evaluate the costs and benefits of the proposed Lockwood Folly Inlet Terminal Groin project; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners has concluded that, in carrying out its duties to equitably and fairly protect the health, safety and welfare interests of all of its citizens, as well as the thousands of guests who come to visit the Town of Holden Beach each year, the total costs to the Town, its citizens and visitors of the proposed Lockwood Folly Inlet Terminal Groin greatly outweigh the potential benefits thereto, both financially and otherwise.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners hereby revoke Resolution 11-12, Terminal Groin Permit Application; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Commissioners does direct that Clark Wright, Special Environmental Counsel to the Town of Holden Beach immediately communicate with the USACE electronically, followed by the sending of a formal letter via certified mail, the decision by the Board of Commissioners to withdraw fully and cease any and all further processing of, or action on, the Town’s currently pending Section 10 and Section 404 Permit Applications and associated NEPA documents–USACE Action ID No. SAW-2011-01914.


Ana Zivanovic-Nenadovic with the NC Coastal Federation said the organization supports the withdrawal of a terminal groin permit application:

“We are pleased that the town has realized how bad an idea this terminal groin is. In general, terminal groins have many unintended consequences – they cause unintended downdrift erosion, harm natural habitat for birds and turtles and impede public access to the beach. They are also extremely expensive. In the case of Holden Beach, a detailed analysis of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Final Environmental Impact Statement revealed a terminal groin might protect just a few more properties compared to those protected by the current nourishment method. We believe that the current nourishment system in the East End works well for the town. It is less costly and it does the job. Additionally, the 2017 Holden Beach Annual Beach Monitoring Report said the nourishment at the East End was successful, reiterating that current nourishment and erosion control methods work for the town.”

Holden Beach terminal groin proposal withdrawn
A permit application for a terminal groin in Holden Beach was withdrawn at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting. Mayor J. Alan Holden and a Holden Beach commissioner confirmed via text message that all applications for a terminal groin — a barrier of stone blocks extended into the ocean — in Holden Beach are revoked. All three agenda items related to permanent withdrawal of terminal groin permits passed unanimously, the commissioner said via text. The commissioner also said a new board was created “to work with the Board of Commissioners and town staff to pursue renourishment.”
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Holden Beach ends pursuit of a terminal groin
Officials dropped the proposal for the east end of the island after facing opposition from residents and environmentalists

Pursuit of a possible terminal groin project for Holden Beach has come to an end, six years after town leaders approved moving forward with pursuing the project. During their regular meeting Tuesday night, Holden Beach Commissioners decided to withdraw the town’s terminal groin application after finding that the project was “fiscally irresponsible,” according to a news release from the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC). “We commend the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners for doing the right thing for its beaches, its residents, and its budget,” Geoff Gisler, SELC senior attorney, said in the release. “The groin would have been an environmental and fiscal disaster. Ending the project after years of study – which ultimately demonstrated the groin’s futility – was the right decision.”

The town had pursued permits to build a 700-foot-long terminal groin near the Lockwood Folly Inlet at the eastern end of the island at a cost of more than $2 million. The project aimed to stabilize the beach and slow erosion, but faced backlash from residents and many environmentalists, including the N.C. Coastal Federation. “It is great news that the town will not be pursuing this destructive process,” Todd Miller, the federation’s executive director said in a news release. “Town officials have been receptive in listening to the negative impacts of a terminal groin, which are extremely expensive and not guaranteed to work.”

Terminal groins are long walls, often made of stone, designed to mitigate shoreline erosion by extending into the water perpendicular to the coast, to trap drifting sand. They are smaller and have a lower profile than the jetties on either side of Masonboro Inlet at the south end of Wrightsville Beach. Environmentalists oppose them in part because they believe they don’t solve erosion woes, but simply move them to another location along the oceanfront. Proponents see terminal groins as offering a solution to chronic erosion woes where there are few other options, such as near inherently unstable inlets.
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Holden Beach Says ‘No’ to Terminal Groin
Holden Beach commissioners are withdrawing the town’s permit application to build a terminal groin at the east end of the barrier island. During their regular meeting Tuesday night, board members unanimously voted to permanently revoke the town’s application with the Army Corps of Engineers. Commissioners have concluded that, “the total costs to the Town, its citizens and visitors of the proposed Lockwood Folly Inlet Terminal Groin greatly outweigh the potential benefits thereto, both financially and otherwise,” according to a resolution they unanimously adopted following their vote to revoke the application. Commissioners directed attorney Clark Wright, a special environmental lawyer hired last December by the board, to notify the Corps of Engineers of the board’s decision to “withdraw fully and cease any and all further processing of, or action on” the permit applications and associated National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, documentation.

The town has spent nearly seven years and more than $600,000 on studies examining various ways to mitigate severe erosion at the Lockwood Folly Inlet. The final Environmental Impact Statement, or FEIS, a study prepared by coastal engineers hired by the town and released by the Corps last month, identified a 1,000-foot-long terminal groin as the preferred erosion-control method. Terminal groins are wall-like structures built perpendicular to the shore at inlets to contain sand in areas of high erosion, like that of beaches at inlets.

What’s Best for the Town

Board members did not discuss why they chose to revoke the permit application before casting their votes, but the two-and-a-half-page resolution states that the analyses in the draft EIS and FEIS use out-of-date data, “without regard to more recent coastline and inlet changes.” At the close of the meeting, Commissioner John Fletcher said everyone on the board thoroughly researched the environmental studies before making the decision to revoke the permit application. “I think everybody made the decision on what they felt was best for the town individually,” Fletcher said. “My view is to keep the nine miles of beach beautiful.”

Engineers with Applied Technology and Management Inc., or ATM, identified a 700-foot-long terminal groin with a 300-foot-long shore anchorage system as the preferred alternative to shoreline erosion control at the island’s east end. Fran Way, a senior coastal engineer with ATM, said earlier this month that the town would save $12 million over 30 years if it builds a terminal groin. During that April 6 meeting, Way encouraged commissioners to move ahead with obtaining the permits.

Better Off Re-Nourishing

Opponents of the terminal groin have argued that the estimated $34.4 million cost associated with construction, maintenance and routine sand injections needed to supplement the structure over 30 years is too high a price tag to protect what would equate to protection of a handful of homes at the east end. Several people who spoke during the April 6 meeting about the FEIS said the town would be better off re-nourishing the beach. The town has been routinely pumping sand onto the eastern end of the 8.1-mile-long barrier island for 50 years. Sandbags have also been placed along the shore throughout the years as a temporary means to protect homes and properties. About a year ago, the town completed the first phase of its $15 million Central Reach project, which pumped about 1.3 million cubic yards of sand along about a 4-mile stretch of oceanfront in the middle of the island. The resolution commissioners adopted Tuesday acknowledged the Central Reach project and “significant beach nourishment on the East End, including beach nourishment utilizing low cost sand available as a by-product of the continued dredging of the Lockwood Folly Inlet at costs orders of magnitude lower than costs utilized by the USACE in the DEIS and FEIS.”

First to Back Out

Holden Beach is the first North Carolina beach town to formally revoke its permit application to construct a terminal groin since the General Assembly in 2011 repealed a decades’ old law banning coastal hardened erosion control structures. The law allows for the construction of up to six terminal groins along the coast. Bald Head Island is the only beach town in the state to build a groin since the 2011 repeal.
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