August 26, 2005

More on Pilkey

Thanks for the comments, lets talk some more about Pilkey. The question is simple. Where is Pilkey's science on current beach nourishment projects? Someone needs to show me where he has done research on the sediment quality used in current NC nourishment projects. His web site does not contain any, I believe this is because he is not interested in learning about beach nourishment. He is on a messianic quest to stop all coastal development. Not just oceanfront but all coastal development. He never suggests broad patterns based on observation. He cherry picks is objections. "Too much shell here, no access there." In Nags Head access is not an issue. Likewise we have done additional sampling on the source of beach nourishment sand to ensure that it is compatible the sediment profile of our beaches. OK so what would Pilkey’s position be on a project with those qualifications. Simple, don't do it because it only helps rich people. Well over 40,000 "rich people" are in Nags Head each week in the summer. If you drive down the ocean front you see a wide variety of homes, almost all rented by people who are glad to get to the beach. Go to the beach accesses and see how full they are of "rich People"? who want to go the beach. Long term for Nags Head the only way we maintain a recreational beach is to put sand on it. We are seeing the impact in South Nags Head now. We will see it all along the Nags Head beach soon. We cannot afford not to nourish. Our beaches support our entire community. Anyone who sees this as welfare for the rich isn't looking at why people come to Nags Head and just how many people they support at restaurants, shops and in government services like water, trash and fire departments. The beach goes away the jobs go away the economy suffers.

The rich person argument suffers from another flaw. The reason that the federal government got involved in nourishment projects (shoreline protection) was to reduce damage from storms. Damage that the government (us taxpayers) then had to pay to clean up. It has been demonstrated time and time again that nourished beaches protect homes. The projects save money for the federal government, regardless of who owns the property.

Additionally when you meet the people who own homes on the oceanfront you find that they are a very mixed group demographically. There are some truly wealthy people but most are simply trying to have a place where they and their family can take a vacation at the beach. They work hard for their money and they have chosen to spend it for beach side homes. The NC coast is not the Hamptons. There is little exclusive about our beaches. They are in fact everyone's beach. go to any access in Nags Head or Kill Devil Hills and you will find that this beach is important to everyone, not the rich.

As to the environmental impacts of beach nourishment. Where is the science, where is the empirical evidence. What I have learned is that beaches tend to recover quickly (6 months to a year) after nourishment. If it is so bad for the ecosystem why does the US Fish and Wildlife Service allow (encourage) its use in the Pea Island Wildlife refuge. The idea that nourishment is inherently bad for the environment is just wrong. Again if it is so bad show me DATA show me studies. Pilkey won’t do it because he can’t.

Emerald Isle has little access, true. When the project was conceived there was no access requirement because it was a locally funded project. Then some state money came into the project and the state did not require that additional access be provided. As I said above this is clearly not an issue in the Nags Head KDH area. There is plenty of access.

Finally- The first poster wanted fairness. This is a blog. It is about opinion and discourse not fairness. I am new at this blogging thing. Thanks for taking an interest.


At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's what I think about beach nourishment in Nags Head. I think that all the "for" people should get out of their little association meeting, Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and chamber meetings, pack up their show and take it on the road to the doorstep of the poor working class in the county, down the roads of Manteo,Wanchese, Colington, Manns Harbor, East Lake, Hatteras Island and all their little churches and community centers. If they come out alive, maybe they can go back to the beach and sell some more real estate, loan some more money and rent some more mini hotels.
Thats what I think


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