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Beach communities consider, build hardened structures in hopes of fighting shoreline erosion


WILMINGTON, North Carolina — Several beach communities in southeastern North Carolina are starting to build or are considering hardened structures that they hope will slow shoreline erosion.

The StarNews of Wilmington reports ( crews are pumping sand on Bald Head Island before construction of a terminal groin begins.

Terminal groins are long, low-slung walls built into the ocean and designed to trap drifting sand.

For decades, North Carolina banned hardened structures, which regulators said relocate erosion problems to other oceanfront areas. But legislators in 2011 voted to allow up to four terminal groins.

Ocean Isle Beach also is pressing for a terminal groin near Shallotte Inlet. Figure Eight Island, Holden Beach and North Topsail Beach also are considering the structures.

Environmentalists question whether governments should spend millions of dollars to protect some property owners.

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