Outer Banks Beach Nourishment

What is beach nourishment?

Beach nourishment is the process of dredging sand from the ocean floor and pumping it back onto the eroding shoreline. Here on the Outer Banks, it's no secret that we love our beaches! To ensure that they remain available to enjoy for generations to come, this added sand provides protection for properties and infrastructure from further erosion caused by storms and high tides.

You May Have Heard Beach Nourishment Referred To As:

  • Beach replenishment
  • Beach renourishment
  • Sand replenishment
  • Sand pumping
  • Dredging beach
  • Dredging sand


Anticipated Beach Nourishment Schedules

Town Start Date End Date Duration 
Nags Head May 2019 October 2019 5 months
Kitty Hawk August 2017 Completed October 2017 2 months
Southern Shores July 2017 Completed August 2017 12 days
Kill Devil Hills June 2017 Completed July 2017 1.5 months
Duck May 2017 Completed June 2017 1 month


Beach Nourishment Updates By Town

Nags Head Beach Nourishment

Updated 5/17/19

Thanks to beautiful Spring weather on the OBX, Nags Head's beach replenishment is moving steadily forward. Sand pumping is currently taking place in the south end of town. As of yesterday 5/16, the Town of Nags Head now expects the entire project to be completed sometime in late July or early August, which is much earlier than expected! However, it is important to know these plans may change, especially depending on weather. 
South Nags Head Update: The Dredge Ellis Island is expected to finish nourishing the beach on the south end of the pipe near Limulus Street to Mile Post 21 in the next 2-3 days. Once that area has been completed, the pipe running south from the Limulus subline will be removed and installed to run north from that subline, so that operations can progress towards Outer Banks Pier. After that, construction will head towards Jennette's Pier. 
North Nags Head (not started yet): The second dredge on the project, the Liberty Island, is expected to begin work about May 25 from a submerged line just south of Curlew Street near Mile Post 11.5. Construction will progress north to Mile Post 11 (at the Bonnett Street public beach access) first, before moving south from the submerged line near Curlew Street. From there, dredging will continue south towards Jennette's Pier. Once work towards the Bonnett Street access is complete, the pipe will be removed and installed south of the subline at Curlew Street so that operations can progress south to meet up with the Dredge Ellis Island's construction site. 
IMPORTANT -  Parking at the Juncos and Forrest Street public beach accesses will be closed for the duration of the project. Pedestrian access will still be permitted. Lifeguard stands will still be in place, but may be moved a few feet to accommodate construction traffic.
The beach nourishment project is expected to last 90-120 days, depending upon weather and equipment operation. Please keep in mind this is quite possible the schedule could change. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Town of Nags Head's website.


Updated 5/7/19

As of May 1, the beach nourishment project is underway in Nags Head!

The Dredge Ellis Island pumping sand onto the beach just south of Limulus Street in south Nags Head, near Mile Post 20.5 in the 10000 block of South Old Oregon Inlet Road. The project will progress south towards Mile Post 21. Once this area has been completed, they will turn north from near Pelican Street and progress towards Outer Banks Pier towards Jennette's Pier.
The Dredge Liberty Island will begin working off of a second submerged line (this is the pipe that sand is pumped from the dredge onto the beach) that is installed between Conch Street and Hollowell Street near Mile Post 11.5 around May 13th. This part of the project will move north to Mile Post 11 first, before moving south from Conch Street and head further south towards Jennette's Pier. 
IMPORTANT -  Parking at the Juncos and Forrest Street public beach accesses will be closed for the duration of the project. Pedestrian access will still be permitted. Lifeguard stands will still be in place, but may be moved a few feet to accommodate construction traffic.
The beach nourishment project is expected to last 90-120 days, depending upon weather and equipment operation. Please keep in mind this is quite possible the schedule could change. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Town of Nags Head's website.


Updated: 3/25/19

The Town of Nags Head met with the beach nourishment dredging contractor, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock on March 14, 2019, for a pre-construction meeting. They plan to start mobilizing equipment in mid to late March and hope to begin construction in mid to late April.

The first dredge on site, The Ellis Island, will start working near Milepost 20, and after progressing south to the end of the project area near Milepost 21, will then head north. The second dredge, The Liberty Island, will begin working in early to mid-May. At this time, the plan is for the dredge to begin working in the north end of the project area, around Milepost 11 and then proceed south to eventually meet with the Ellis Island.

Construction is expected to take 90-120 days, depending upon weather and continued equipment operation. Please keep in mind this is a very preliminary schedule and it is likely to change. For the most recent updates, stay tuned to the Town of Nags Head's website or Dare County's website. We recommend subscribing to their email updates as well.


Updated: 2/8/19

According to the contractor, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, there will be two dredges working off shore. This means there will be two approximately 1,000 ft. sections of beach that will be closed during a majority of the project. Typically, when Great Lakes has completed nourishing a section of beach, they will re-open the closed section and then work their way either north or south, moving the pipe as they progress, closing a new section of beach.

A reminder that there are many moving parts to projects this large. Weather and mechanical issues can greatly imapct the timeline. Great Lakes expects to have a prelinary schedule released in March or April. Stay up to date by visiting the Town of Nags Head's website or Dare County's website, where visitors may also subscribe to email updates.


Updated: 1/1/19

The Town of Nags Head will be conducting a beach nourishment maintenance project in 2019. Nags Head beaches were previously renourished in 2011. This project is slated to begin in May 2019 and anticipated to be complete in October 2019. Nearly 4 million cubic yards of sand will be pumped from the ocean floor onto 10 miles of oceanfront beach from the Bonnett Street beach access at Milepost 11 to the town line at Milepost 21. Please check Dare County's website More Beach to Love often for the most up-to-date information.

The Town of Nags Head anticipates to have a preliminary schedule in April, however, the schedule could change as weather and equipment conditions change. 


Kill Devil Hills Beach Nourishment

Updated: 12/1/18

The 2.6 mile beach nourishment project was completed on 7/27/17 in Kill Devil Hills. The 8.4 million dollar project took approximately 1.5 months to complete. In early Spring of 2018, engineers were pleased with how well the newly widened beaches held up following multiple hurricanes and several strong winter nor'easters.


Duck Beach Nourishment

Updated: 12/1/18

Beach nourishment in the Town of Duck began on May 23, 2017 and was completed on June 28, 2017. Post construction beach profile surveys were conducted in the months following completion of the project to document construction performance and establish a baseline for future monitoring. The Town of Duck also hosted a grass planting event this past November. Over 4,000 plants across 23 sections/230 linear feet of beach in the nourishment area were planted. 


Kitty Hawk Beach Nourishment

Updated: 12/1/18

The beach nourishment project was completed in Kitty Hawk in Fall 2017 resulting in the widening of 3.58 miles of shoreline, from the Southern Shores to Kill Devil Hills town lines.


Southern Shores Beach Nourishment

Updated: 12/1/18

Southern Shores beach nourishment was completed on August 7, 2017! 2,500 feet of shoreline, from the Kitty Hawk town line to 44 Ocean Boulevard has been improved with a cost of about 1 million dollars. Approximately 180 feet of width was added to the Southern Shores beaches. This added protection of beach in front of the dune line, in combination with added sand fencing and sea grass, should help the eroded dunes to build back up.


Corolla and 4x4 Beach Nourishment

Updated: 12/1/18

Corolla and the 4x4 beaches have not experienced any past beach nourishment nor are there currently any plans for a future project. Thankfully the beaches in Corolla and the 4x4 area are already quite wide and the dune line remains strong. Please help keep our dunes tall by not walking or playing on the dunes and using designated beach accesses. 


FAQs About Beach Nourishment

How Long Does Beach Nourishment Last?

Crews typically work on about a 1,000-foot section of beach at a time (every few days), during which that portion of beach is closed. Once a section is complete, the beach is reopened within 24-48 hours. Total completion time varies widely and is extremely dependent on weather conditions and any other issues that could arise.


How Does Beach Nourishment Affect A Vacation?

A 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 back up lights and alarms so depending on the location of the operation, some construction noise, beach access diversions, and night illuminations are possible. 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, 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. 

Vacationers staying in areas impacted by beach nourishment may be required to walk, drive, or ride a bike to a beach access that is further from their home. Good news though, many beaches along the Outer Banks have public beach access with parking

Once the beach nourishment project is underway, vacationers are encouraged to follow the Interactive Progress Map and sign up for email updates from the Town of Nags Head


What Should Travelers To Nags Head Be Aware Of Going Into The 2019 Beach Nourishment Project?

Only those staying in the 10-mile stretch of Nags Head in May through October could be affected. Travelers staying on the oceanfront or accessing beaches from Bonnett Street (Milepost 11) to Milepost 21 may need to use an alternate beach access depending on when they are visiting and where the crews are working on a particular day. More details on where construction will be taking place will be provided by More Beach to Love when their Progress Map is made available.

beach nourishment set up     beach nourishment after

Things To Do On The Outer Banks

We understand this may be an inconvenience to some who may be vacationing during the time this important renourishment is taking place. The great news is the Outer Banks is filled with endless possibilities to make some memories! See our OBX Travel Guide for Twiddy's favorite things to do on the Outer Banks with our recommended local partners.