Erosion has been a problem for some areas of the Outer Banks for many years. As you drive down NC 12 in Kitty Hawk you’ll see many spots where there is no house between the ocean and the road. Many houses in this area were lost to erosion over the years. North Carolina does not allow jetties or bulkheads to be installed on the ocean front so the ocean front homes are at the mercy of the sea.
One positive of the erosion is that it has made Kitty Hawk ocean front homes and homes in other erosion prone areas more affordable. Rental income is great compared to asking prices.
Beach nourishment projects have been started in Nags Head and are proposed in a few other Outer Banks areas. Nags Head’s nourishment project has created a renaissance for the erosion prone areas. Owners in these areas are now improving and maintaining their houses better because loosing them to erosion is less likely now.
Once the nourishment projects start in Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk we may see the same result.
Here’s a link to North Carolina’s web site where the annual erosion rate is shown. The erosion rate is determined by regular measurements of the first line of vegitation. This is where the beach grass stops and the beach begins. They look at where that first line of vegitation was 50 years ago, where it is today and calculate the average change. Believe it or not, there are quite a few areas where the beach is actually building!
To see the erosion rate for a specific area, zoom into that location and click on the red or green bar (red is for erosion and green is for accretion).