HOLDEN BEACH — At last night’s Board of Commissioners meeting, the town of Holden Beach revoked all of its applications for a terminal groin at the east end of the town.
The five town commissioners voted unanimously to revoke the applications. The North Carolina Coastal Federation has been against the terminal groin since it was first proposed.
“It is great news that the town will not be pursuing this destructive process,” said Todd Miller, executive director of the federation. “Town officials have been receptive in listening to the negative impacts of a terminal groin, which are extremely expensive and not guaranteed to work.”
Town residents had spoken out against the proposed terminal groin, which the Army Corps of Engineers estimated would cost upwards of $30 million. That estimate was on the low end and also did not include maintenance, for which the town would have been responsible.
Ronda Dixon, a Holden Beach resident who has spoken against the terminal groin in the past, said she was very pleased with the town’s decision.
“I think it was a wise decision on the part of the Board of Commissioners. Everybody did a lot of work to research and give the terminal groin a chance, and I think that the 5-0 vote against it is indicative of how wrong it was for Holden Beach,” Dixon said. “I believe there are other solutions that are much preferable than putting a hardened structure on our island.”
In its withdrawal resolution, the town said that the Corps’ draft and final Environmental Impact Statements relied on faulty modeling that used out-of-date data that didn’t consider recent shoreline changes. It also cited the expertise of coastal geologists opposed to terminal groins and concluded that the overall risks outweighed any benefits.
“The Corps’ modeling predicted that even with beach nourishment, the mean high water line would have been over oceanfront houses by 2012, costing the town more than $3 million. But the actual shoreline edge and mean high water line in 2012 was much farther out than predicted and did not affect these properties,” said Ana Zivanovic-Nenadovic, senior policy analyst for the federation. “The Corps’ modeling was way off, and their reliance on it was troubling.”
The town applied to construct a terminal groin near Lockwood Folly Inlet shortly after the North Carolina General Assembly passed a 2011 law that allowed four terminal groins to be constructed. Previously hardened structures like terminal groins had been banned.
The federation is against the use of terminal groins and similar hardened structures because of the threats they pose to public beach access and natural habitat for endangered or threatened species, including sea turtles and shorebirds.
More information and background about this issue is available at nccoast.org/inlets-beaches.
The Corps announced April 19 that it is no longer seeking public comment and has ceased its permit review of the town’s application.