News | November 18, 2016

Beach community turns down proposal to harden N.C. beach, destroy habitat

The Figure Eight Island Homeowners Association membership has denied its Board of Directors’ request to move forward with a proposed terminal groin at Rich Inlet.

For more than five years, the Homeowners Association Board has sought to build a terminal groin at the north end of Figure Eight Island—a proposal that would destroy one of the most important wildlife habitats on the North Carolina coast. The proposed structure, which would have been built of sheet metal and large boulders, would eliminate the natural sand movement in the inlet that creates irreplaceable habitat for several bird species, including threatened and endangered piping plovers and red knots.

“The denial of this request creates an opportunity for Figure Eight to develop a plan that works with nature, rather than against it,” said Geoff Gisler, Senior Attorney with SELC “Rich Inlet is one of the most stable inlets in North Carolina—short periods of erosion on the island that infrequently occur can be managed with much less destructive approaches that both protect valuable habitat and are much cheaper.”

The Homeowners Association still has a permit application requesting approval of the proposed terminal groin pending with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. SELC and its partners will continue to push for a plan that protects Rich Inlet’s valuable habitat and natural shoreline.