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Groin project returns with beach building

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A plan to build three concrete and rock groins on the beach at DeBordieu is back before state and federal regulators, this time as part of a project to place offshore sand on 1.8 miles of beach.

The DeBordieu Colony Community Association applied last year for permits to build three groins on the south end of Debidue Beach. That application was withdrawn this year. It faced opposition from environmental groups and from the Belle W. Baruch Foundation, which owns the beachfront property south of DeBordieu.

Engineers said the groins were meant to be part of a beach nourishment project, but they wanted to know the groins could be built before designing the larger project.

DeBordieu property owners paid for three beach nourishment projects between 1990 and 2006, and residents said the sand ended up washing away.

About 65 percent of the 2006 sand was still in place this spring, said Blanche Brown, general manager for the community association.

The current proposal calls for dredging 625,000 cubic yards of sand from two sites 2.3 and 3 miles east of North Inlet and pumping it onto the beach. Part of the sand would be placed on 1,000 feet of beach in front of the Baruch property, according to the application.

That’s the same footprint and sand source as the 2006 beach nourishment project, Brown said.

The Baruch Foundation opposed the groin permit because of concerns the structures would trap sand that normally moves parallel to the shore and erode its beachfront.

The state allows new groins as part of beach nourishment projects to protect existing development on beaches with a high erosion rate, but the projects have to show there is no effect on adjacent shoreline.

The Baruch trustees will review the application at a meeting tomorrow. “It is a change from the previous proposal,” said George Chastain, the foundation’s executive director. But, at the moment, “our position has not changed.”

The foundation had the previous plan reviewed by outside engineers before sending its comments to regulators. That’s a possibility with the new application, Chastain said.

“We took their comments into consideration,” Brown said.

If the groins aren’t approved, DeBordieu will still seek permits for another nourishment project, she said.

“We have money set aside for ongoing beach maintenance,” she said.

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