State, FEMA approve $2.9 million to renourish Duck beaches following Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian satellite image, NOAA, Sept. 1, 2019

The State of North Carolina and FEMA have approved $2,972,456 to help the Town of Duck renourish its beaches and replace dune plants destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

Funding from FEMA’s Public Assistance program covers restoration of 170,800 cubic yards of beach sand and replacement of 61,200 dune plants along 8,412 linear feet of shoreline, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Safety.

FEMA’s share for the project is $2,229,342 and the state’s share is $743,114.

Duck has been the center of a legal battle involving local business owner and surfer Bob Hovey and the Sand Dollar Shores homeowner’s association over beach access in town. Unlike other areas of the Outer Banks, the towns of Duck and Southern Shores don’t own or maintain public beach accesses. Hovey sued for a private access in Duck to be declared public and won, but the ruling was recently overturned. He plans to appeal.

The beaches of North Carolina are public lands open to all, but beach access is not, leaving some to call for no tax dollars to spent on renourishment projects in Duck, since access is limited.

The FEMA and state public assistance program provides grants for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to reimburse the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent repair work.

FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.

For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Dorian, visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4465.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kari@www.obxtoday.com