Whose job is it to save North Topsail Beach ?

Topsail beach erosion, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of: “Sand Wars” Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac. ©2013


The Atlantic Ocean is eroding parts of North Topsail Beach by about five feet per year. The town of 800 residents is running out of cash and solutions in its efforts to protect its north shore. Whose job is to save this popular North Carolina tourist destination?

Watch Video News, News Observer (09-29-2016)

North Topsail Beach Debacle No Way for NC to Manage its Coast; Op Ed By Robert Young (10-05-2015)
Is North Topsail Beach the most poorly managed beach community in the country? If not, it certainly seems to be taking a good shot at it. I have watched in dismay as the town has struggled to preserve a small stretch of oceanfront property at all costs. In doing so, officials have destroyed their beach and created significant access issues along more than a half-mile stretch of shoreline. Perhaps even more disconcerting is that this damage has been done with the permission of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management and the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission…

“North Carolina: The Beaches Are Moving,” A Video featuring Orrin Pilkey, PhD
World famous coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey takes us to the beach and explains why erosion has become a problem…

Erosion Worsens at Topsail North Beach, NC (12-01-2014)

“Seawalls Kill Beaches,” Open Letters by Warner Chabot And Rob Young, (10-03-2014)

Seawall ‘Option’ Won’t Wash, Post & Courier, (10-23-2014)
Hard erosion control devices aren’t generally allowed on South Carolina beaches, and with good reason. Here’s why: Seawalls actually can accelerate erosion, often on adjacent property.

Sandbagged: The Undoing of a Quarter Century of North Carolina Coastal Conservation, Op Ed by Gary Lazorick (07-04-2011)
Rows of houses with overlapping sandbag walls create huge problems. The walls do as much damage to the beach as hardened seawalls. Removing the sandbags from one property potentially damages all of the others…

Shoot the Messenger: Carolina’s Costly Mistake on Sea Level Rise, By Dr. Robert S. Young, Director, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines / Western Carolina University

Denying Sea-Level Rise: How 100 Centimeters Divided The State of North Carolina, by Orrin H. Pilkey (04-23-2013)

North Carolina Should Move With Nature on Coast, News Observer (01-05-2015)

Time to Get Serious About Protecting Beaches; Savannah Now (03-13-2015)
Much of the coastline along the eastern seaboard is composed of barrier islands whose geography is in constant flux. Some years, a particular stretch of beach will expand, maybe for 10 years or more. That same beach may begin to shrink, and continue to do so for years, perhaps even opening into a small estuary and forming a marshland, only to be reversed eventually. “Our bill will allow the baseline to move landward, but not seaward. The science and the common sense agree that this is the prudent course of action…”

From Coast To Coast, Vanity Fair (07-23-2013)
At opposite ends of the country, two of America’s most golden coastal enclaves are waging the same desperate battle against erosion…

We Need to Retreat From the Beach, Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey.
As ocean waters warm, the Northeast is likely to face more Sandy-like storms. And as sea levels continue to rise, the surges of these future storms will be higher and even more deadly. We can’t stop these powerful storms. But we can reduce the deaths and damage they cause…