OBX Oceanfront Dunes

A good sand dune running in a straight line parallel to the ocean in front of your oceanfront home can be very comforting during a storm and the more dunes the better. The beauty of the ocean front dunes obscures the reality that these dunes were crafted with heavy machinery during the depression by the CCC. The natural dunes on the Outer Banks typically run down the center of the island. You can find good example of natural dunes on Buffel Head drive across the street from the Duck oceanfront. Another natural dune is crested by Hillcrest Dr. in Southern Shores where oceanfront views can be seen of the horizon, and the most popular natural dunes are the Wright Memorial and Jockey's Ridge State Park.


Dune Building

There are a few things an owner can do to build up the dune line in front of their property. While a dune will not stop the ocean from washing over, it will slow down the tides advance giving your property more time to ride out the storm.

Sand fences can be installed in the area where you want the sand to pile up. If you build a series of short fences with each one running in a north west to south east direction they will catch the sand blown around by the ever present northeasterly winter winds.our Nor easters. I have successfully built a 50 foot long 10 foot wide dune over the course of 1 winter using this method. When the fences get covered over with sand just replace them with new fences to build up the height of the dune.

Another method is to hire someone with a bulldozer to push sand up from the beach to build a dune. The work is typically done at low tide to allow the equipment operator to push sand up from below the high tide water level. Beach pushing requires a permit from the local town or county authority and from CAMA and can only be done during the winter months. Nags Head has banned beach pushing in the areas where the beach has been re nourished.

Not everyone agrees with the benefits of beach pushing. Pushing the sand up from below the water water level will leave a depression in front of your property. It might be possible that this helps accelerate the erosion rate.

Sand can also be trucked in and piled on the beach to create an artificial dune. This method is the most expensive but produces the best results as you are replaceing lost sand.

Anything you do on or near the beach will require permits from the local municipality and CAMA, the state authority charged with regulating any type of construction activity near the states coastal waters.


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