A much-anticipated sand renourishment project is starting up this week in Wrightsville Beach.
Commercial vessels and marine equipment are being moved into Banks Channel, toward the south end of the beach, and into Masonboro Inlet, according to the Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District.
A pipe in which sand will be pumped from the inlet onto the shore will extend from the water to an area just south of the Blockade Runner Hotel.
Residents and visitors are urged to used caution in the inlet where dredging will occur and on land where the sand will be initially be placed.
Sand is expected to be pumped onto the shore beginning the week of Dec. 17.
Wrightsville Beach has waited more than two years for this project, which hit a road block in 2021 when the Biden administration overturned a decision that allowed the town to tap the inlet as a sand borrow source.
Up to that point, the town for decades had been injecting fresh sand pumped from the inlet, which is within a federally-designated Coastal Barrier Resources Act, or CBRA, zone.
CBRA was enacted in the early 1980s as a means of prohibiting federal dollars from being spent on projects in what are considered the most hazardous of coastal areas.
But Wrightsville Beach was using the inlet as a sand borrow source years before that law was enacted and, in the mid-1990s, the Corps made permanent a rule allowing the town to continue to pump from the inlet.
The Corps has created a sand placement tracker that will notify residents and guests to the island which part of the beach will be closed for construction. Users of the tracker should view it in google chrome.
For those who cannot use the hyperlink, visit https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/e98f4748f5564a9a85f90eae66b94ef0/