Watch a time lapse video of beach nourishment taking place near Mile Post 18.5 around August 10, 2019 in Nags Head.

Outer Banks Beach Nourishment: What You Need To Know

While the Outer Banks coastline is beautiful, it is also very delicate. Storms, high winds, and tidal changes contribute to beach erosion. Many visitors and residents will not experience any impacts. Thank you for understanding how important beach nourishment is to the future of our communities. Please enjoy your stay, and return soon to see the wonderful results.

  • Projects for Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, and Avon/Buxton were completed in 2022. The town of Duck beach nourishment project began in May of 2023, and updates are posted regularly to the Duck website as nourishment takes place.

So, What Is Beach Nourishment?

Beach nourishment is the process of pumping sand onto an eroding shoreline to widen the existing beach. Sand is taken from either a sandbar, a dredged inlet, or an offshore borrow site on the ocean floor. Beach nourishment increases defense from coastal storms and beach erosion saving beaches and homes and businesses that border the beaches. Locals and visitors alike know that beach nourishment is necessary to protect the beautiful beaches we all love so dearly.

How Will The Beach Nourishment Process Affect Me? 

Any given section of beach might be shut down for 4 to 6 days to ensure public safety. Bulldozers, loaders, and excavators will be used in this process. This equipment contains backup lights and alarms so it may be a bit noisy. Shore pipeline will be laid to allow for sand to be pumped from the offshore station to the active construction site. This pipeline will run parallel to the beach so they will be visible, however, sand ramps will be built over the pipelines to allow safe access from the beach to the ocean.

While specific areas will be affected for a limited time, the nourishment process isn’t terribly disruptive and you can still enjoy soaking up the sun, playing in the waves, and spending time with friends and family on your Outer Banks vacation! And, even better? When the beach nourishment is complete, not only will we have more beach to love, but our beautiful shoreline will be better protected from storms and erosion.

Detailed sand pumping location information is available on the progress map located at More Beach to Love on the Dare county website.

Depending upon the location of the operations, you may experience some temporary construction noise, night illumination, and beach access diversions. Please be patient with our much-needed projects – beach nourishment is vital to our future.

Why do they work in the summer?

The summer and early fall are the safest times to perform the work. Frequent late fall, winter, and early spring storms make working off our shore very dangerous.

Will they pump sand onto the beach in more than one place at a time?

Because we have such a short weather window in which to complete the project, there may be more than one section of the beach affected at a time.

Do they work certain days of the week or certain hours of the day?

The contractors will work 24/7 until the project is complete, depending on conditions.

Will I be able to get to the beach while the project underway?

Yes! If construction limits access directly in front of your property, you may need to enter the beach at an alternate beach access, which may be a matter of walking a few hundred feet around the construction area.

Sand ramps will be placed over a temporary pipeline at every public access and then in intervals of 300 feet, allowing people to get across and enjoy the beach seaward of the pipeline. There will be a wide beach after nourishment, giving people large areas seaward of the pipeline to enjoy. The newly built beach may be a bit darker than the old beach, but it will quickly bleach out from the sun.

Alternatively, you may take the opportunity to visit beaches throughout Dare County which offer public access outside of the immediate project area. You can see a list of Outer Banks beach access locations here. This is a great time to also visit one of the many attractions located on the Outer Banks.

Is construction noisy?

You will be able to tell if construction operations are underway in front of your property. The sounds you will typically hear are the back-up alarms from bulldozers and trucks, which are required by federal law. Lights will be used on the beach throughout the night and may be visible from homes.

For more information and updates visit the More Beach To Love website.