Federal lawsuit filed over Ocean Isle Beach terminal groin

Federal lawsuit filed over Ocean Isle Beach terminal groin

OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - An environmental group has a filed a federal lawsuit over plans to build a terminal groin in Ocean Isle Beach claiming the US Army Corps of Engineers failed to properly consider alternatives.

The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the lawsuit Monday in the US Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, on behalf of Audobon NC. According to a news release, the SELC alleges that the Corps "pre-ordained" its selection of a terminal groin to help ease erosion on the eastern side of Ocean Isle Beach.

The group also said that the Corps used "unreliable" erosion modeling as well as violated the National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Water Act.

A terminal groin is a long, low structure, typically made of rock or concrete, which extends out into the ocean at the end of an island, and is intended to trap sand and prevent beach erosion.

"We're in court because the Corps failed to fairly consider alternatives that would cost Ocean Isle less, manage erosion, and protect the natural beach on the east end of the island when it approved this destructive project," said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.  "Federal law requires the Corps to choose the least destructive alternative; with the terminal groin, it approved the most destructive."

Ocean Isle Beach received all neccessary permits for the 750-foot structure earlier this year. The project is expected to cost $5.7 million and was scheduled to begin construction in November.

The project will be located on the beachfront off East Third Street.

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