Estuarine Shoreline Management Plan

Project Background

Nags Head is a vulnerable coastal community that, in 2015, partnered with North Carolina Sea Grant (NCSG) to adopt initial adaptive practices and policies for sea level rise and climate change. 

The Town of Nags Head has brought on a Consultant Team, comprised of Biohabitats and Moffatt & Nichol, to assist the Town in creating an Estuarine Shoreline Management Plan. The Consultant Team will develop the Estuarine Shoreline Management Plan in collaboration with the Town  Advisory Committee and will integrate feedback from the community in order to build off the Town’s previous work. This will enable the Town of Nags Head to be fully prepared to implement and construct features to protect the Town's estuarine shoreline and infrastructure. This will result in accomplishing recommendations made in the Vulnerability, Consequences, and Adaptation Planning Scenario (VCAPS) Report and Comprehensive Plan.

Project Description

The Town of Nags Head Estuarine Shoreline Management Plan will comprehensively address the management of 17 miles of estuarine shoreline in the Town while balancing land use, ecosystem health, public health, and recreational opportunities. The objectives of the plan would be to prioritize shoreline management opportunities through a biogeographical inventory of existing shorelines, historical changes, and impacts; identification of shoreline best management practices, uses, and policy; exploration of legal barriers to shoreline management natural solutions and regulatory issues, and consideration of the impacts of future hazards, such as sea level rise, on the estuarine system. Project outcomes include:  

  • a prioritized list of estuarine shoreline projects to be incorporated into the strategic CIP Funding Plan 
  • science-based policy direction to support projects and next steps 
  • land use guidance for adjacent uses both today and under future sea level rise scenarios 
  • monitoring plan for projects 
  • overall increased resilience to flooding/erosion 
  • improved ecosystem health and identification of recreational opportunities
  • minimized impacts of future sea level rise  
  • increased presence of nature-based solutions

Advisory Committee

The Estuarine Shoreline Management Plan Advisory Committee will provide guidance and feedback to Town staff and the Consultant Team on the development of an Estuarine Shoreline Management Plan. Inclusion of stakeholder feedback through the advisory group and input into the Estuarine Shoreline Management Plan will result in a robust and comprehensive set of proposed projects, policies, and actions. A variety of stakeholder engagement methods will be used to gain feedback from the advisory group on overall long term goals for estuarine shoreline management, criteria for project prioritization, property owner engagement, identification of other stakeholders that should be engaged, future land use concerns, policy and land use objectives, management of public access, and education and outreach opportunities for each type of stakeholder. 

Advisory Committee Members include: 

Ralph BuxtonAdnan JalilRandy Blanton 
Robert NetschLouisa FarrAnn Daisey 
Cola VaughanMolly HarrisonMike Kelly
Mike O'Steen
Lora Eddy, TNCAaron McCall, TNC
John Mebane, The Links
Joy Greenwood, Jockey's Ridge State Park Lee Nettles, OB Visitors Bureau 
Diane Bognich,  OB Visitors Bureau Bob Sanders, BOC Liason


Technical Advisors 

The Town has developed partnerships with the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) and  Coastal Federation that will provide technical assistance and support to the Town and the consultant during the development of the Plan.  Dr. Reide Corbett, Executive Director of CSI, and Erin Fleckenstein, Coastal Scientist and Manager of the Coastal Federation's Northeast Regional Office.  

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