NC Coastal Inventory

Inventory of Coastal Engineering
(Funded by a UNC Research Competitiveness Award)

The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) at Western Carolina University, as part of the North Carolina Coastal Hazards: Economic Implications of Severe Storms and Sea-Level Rise Project, has identified, inventoried and mapped coastal engineering projects (current activities and existing and historic shoreline stabilization structures) designed to impact sediment transport along 320 miles of North Carolina’s coastline.

The primary objective of this project is to provide a comprehensive graphic and tabular overview of the location, extent and degree of anthropogenic efforts designed to stabilize North Carolina’s ocean and inlet shorelines.

Coastal engineering projects that have been identified include erosion control structures (jetties, groins, bulkheads, revetments and seawalls), beach nourishment, berm/dune construction and federal inlet dredging/mining operations.

To date, 163 beach nourishment episodes, 51 erosion control structures (eleven bulkheads, 26 groins, five jetties and nine seawalls), nine dune/berm re/construction projects, thirteen ongoing federal dredging/inlet mining operations and the location of 370 sandbag seawall permits have been identified.

Although erosion control structures are currently illegal in North Carolina, exceptions exist, as do structures built prior to the state’s prohibition in 1979.

Most engineering projects have been mapped, although the status of some sandbag seawalls and erosion control structures has yet to be confirmed.

These data will enhance the ability of local, state and federal resource management agencies to determine the economic and environmental impact of these structures.

The inventory is currently available as a .kmz file for use in Google Earth and as individual shapefiles.

Google Earth
NC Coastal Engineering Inventory (KMZ file)

ArcGIS Shapefiles:
Beach Nourishment

Erosion Control Structures


Berm/Dune Construction


NC Shoreline

Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines
Western Carolina University
294 Belk
Cullowhee,  NC 28723

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