S110, as passed through the House and the Senate, would lift the ban on building expensive hardened structures, like terminal groins and jetties, on our coastline. Both Democrats and Republicans alike support the ban on these structures. However, threats from a few misinformed politicians have allowed for more of these structures, which increase erosion and beach maintenance costs.
“In 2003, the North Carolina Legislature voted unanimously to ban the construction of new, permanent erosion control structures from North Carolina’s ocean shorelines (including inlets) Session Law 2003-427. There were no dissenting votes in either chamber!” http://www.wcu.edu/4402.asp
There has been a great deal of concern on the part of both Democrats and Republicans about the cost of the structures, and who will end up footing the bill. Although terminal groins have been shown to prevent erosion in some areas, they increase erosion on neighboring beaches, which can actually increase the amount of beach renourishment needed, and the costs associated with beach maintenance. Polling has shown that most North Carolinians agree that the taxpayer should not have to bear these costs in order to protect a few privately owned beachfront properties. Read more here.
And there are better choices! An extensive economic analysis of three beach management strategies found that beach armoring (adding hardened structures such as terminal groins) was the LEAST effective management strategy, considering the costs of maintenance and construction, as well as the environmental and recreational costs the structures present. The study found that leaving a beach to its natural flow, despite some loss of property value due to erosion, is a more cost-effective method of beach management than the addition of terminal groins. The study was completed by two collaborating universities, and the study site was a barrier island off the coast of Georgia that is likely to present similar weather conditions and erosion patterns to the North Carolina coast. (Landry, Keeler, and Kriesel 2003, Marine Resource Economics)