Update: Because the town revoked its applications, the Corps is no longer seeking comments.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comments on the project proposal for the construction of a terminal groin structure on Holden Beach just west of Lockwood Folly Inlet and Oak Island.

On March 15, the Corps released the Final Environmental Impact Statement. Comments on this document will be used to assess the impacts of the terminal groin construction and to determine public interest in the proposed project. They will also be used to determine if there needs to be a public hearing. Comments are due May 4. 

According to the public notice, the town’s preferred alternative is to construct a 1,000-foot terminal groin and implement a 30-year beach nourishment plan.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation opposes the Holden Beach terminal groin project due to the harm hardened structures cause to estuarine waters, marine fisheries, endangered sea turtle nesting sites and bird nesting habitat. Constructing a terminal groin is expensive, and it is not guaranteed to work. It could also cause unintended erosion down-drift of Lockwood Folly Inlet and impede public access to the beach.

There are alternative methods, such as beach renourishment or channel realignment, that mitigate or reduce erosion and would create less economic and environmental damage than a terminal groin.

Terminal groins had been banned in North Carolina until the North Carolina General Assembly overturned that ban in 2011. Since then, only one has been completed at Bald Head Island. One at Ocean Isle Beach has been permitted, but the Southern Environmental Law Center is challenging the terminal groin in court on behalf of Audubon North Carolina.

The federation will be submitting comments against the terminal groin.

On March 21, the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners voted to direct an attorney to request a 30-day extension on the comment period. The board also approved a motion to halt all work on the current application process until the commissioners “vote to restore such authority,” according to Coastal Review Online.

Submit comments to:

Mr. Mickey Sugg
Wilmington Regulatory Field Office
69 Darlington Avenue
Wilmington, NC 28403

Read the public notice.

To see all documents, go to the Corps’ website and scroll to Holden Beach Terminal Groin – Corps ID # SAW-2011-01914.