Oak Island project wrapping up after 40,000 feet of dune restoration

Sand dunes

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Hurricane Isaias might be just a memory for many in the Cape Fear region, but the town of Oak Island has been dealing with the impacts of the storm for weeks. The storm took a heavy toll on the town’s beaches and an emergency beach push to rebuild the sand dunes was started, now, after 40,000 liner feet of rebuilding, the project is winding down.

“Following the impacts of Hurricane Isaias on August 10, 2020 the Town of Oak Island has been engaged in efforts to rebuild its sand dunes. Much of the dunes throughout the entire length of Oak Island were heavily eroded and flattened by the storm,” according to the town.

Much of the sand from the storm was washed ashore and covered the streets around the beach town, however, restoring dunes and moving sand isn’t something the state takes lightly. At one point the town had to order all residents to stop all sand-moving operations in order to be in compliance with state law

“The Town has been diligent in reconstructing this vital, protective barrier for homes and business along the shore, while at the same time adhering to all Federal and Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) regulations, so as to ensure the safety of area wildlife,” according to the town.

The town was able to reopen fully to visitors earlier this month and dune pushing has largely been completed.

“Sand pushing operations have been contracted through Hickman Utility Contractors ... To date, 40,000 linear feet has been pushed. While the inconveniences from an operation of this size are unavoidable, Oak Island expresses great appreciation patience and understanding shown by all property owners, residents, and visitors,” the town wrote in a press release. “Additionally the Town thanks volunteers of the Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program for their daily assistance in monitoring for any turtle activity during the rebuilding efforts.”

While the dune pushing operation is wrapping up it has created a new issue - beach access.

The pushing of the dunes has blocked some beach access points and the town is asking residents and visitors to keep off the dunes and only use open access points.

Until access points can be constructed, the Town strongly reminds all beachgoers to please stay off the dunes, and only use street end accesses points that are currently available. While temporarily inconvenient, doing these simple steps will help eliminate the need for further repair, and prevent delays in the construction of additional access points.

A full list of open beach access points can be seen below.

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