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Local Coastal Communities Come Closer to Terminal Groin Permitting; Environmentalists Raise Concerns

Example of a Terminal Groin

Terminal groins are hardened structures that jut into the ocean with the aim of preventing beach erosion. The construction of one is in progress, and three other local coastal communities are pursuing permits. Yet oceanfront officials and environmentalists disagree on the costs and benefits.

An amendment to the Coastal Area Management Act allows for up to four new terminal groins in North Carolina, and all four projects are slated for the Cape Fear region.

Figure 8 Island is nearing the completion of the environmental impact statement for their proposed terminal groin. David Kellam of Figure 8 Homeowner’s Association says that, after looking at other examples of terminal groins, he feels confident that they can be successfully used to preserve the beachfront: 

"So a terminal groin likely would reduce the frequency and volume of sand that would have to be pumped and moved onto a beachfront. Which obviously, the less you have to move it is not only a cost savings but also an environmental benefit."

Tracy Skrabal of North Carolina Coastal Federation disagrees. Figure 8’s proposed terminal groin would be placed near Rich Inlet, which Skrabal says is a dynamic ecosystem: 

"These are the areas that are most volatile. They move all the time. So, to have as the first hardened structures allowed on our beaches since the CAMA Act has been put in place, to be put in these highly volatile areas to protect but a few properties is not environmentally beneficial. It’s just the opposite."

To hear more about how terminal groins will affect area beaches, tune in to CoastLine at noon on Wednesday, March 11th.