Southern Shores looking at beach replenishment, along with other OBX towns

SOUTHERN SHORES, N.C. (WAVY) — Southern Shores is looking into beach replenishment.

Duck, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills have worked for years on a similar project. Now, there’s a possibility Southern Shores might piggy back on.

After years of the Kitty Hawk beaches getting battered by storms, relief is on the way. Mayor Gary Perry says by June, he expects the long-awaited renourishment project to begin.

“[When it starts] within a couple months, maybe we’ll have some protection and something to break the waves,” Perry said.

The beach replenishment will start at Duck and work its way down to Kitty Hawk, leapfrogging the beaches of Southern Shore. The town didn’t sign on for the project.

In 2016, storms ravaged their coast. From a Nor’easter to Hurricane Matthew, the damage was visible.

“We had not seen dune loss like that in previous years,” Southern Shores Mayor Tom Bennett said.

Mayor Bennett said more than 40 feet of protective dunes have washed away in the last year. Concern from waterfront homeowners got the town’s attention.

“If we do decide to do it, it would tie into the Kitty Hawk project,” Bennett said.

He explained that before it can even go to vote, they’d have to know if federal permits from the original project could be modified to include Southern Shores.

That’s a process Mayor Perry is familiar with.

“They’ve got a lot of hoops in a short amount of time to come across,” Perry said.

Another hurdle comes from Southern Shore residents who live further inland. Most of the town’s beaches are private.

“I don’t think we should do it, because I think it’s a waste of taxpayer money,” resident Sara Munford said.

This potential project hasn’t reached the voting stage yet. For now, Southern Shores is gathering information before taking it to the town council.

However, with the replenishment project ready to go, Southern Shores will at least look at the possibility to save its dunes by joining.