Case Number Four

Figure 8 Island

Emon Lott, Tanaya Battle, Jayla Pittman

Residents of Figure Eight Island are trying to influence legislators to approve a terminal groin, reducing the loss of soil due to erosion.

Terminal groins, and jetties, are a big part of maintaing the natural nutrients on land that is near a large body of moving water. This design curves the land, so as nutrients are swept away by the current, they are redeposited to the other side of the land mass.

Why Is There Disagreement?


- Terminal groins reduce beach erosion and slow the migration of inlets

- These erosion control structures have a proven track record in NC and are widely used in coastal states around the nation

- A terminal groin is designed to be inconspicuous/ discreet

- An Environmental Impact Study would be required before the construction


- Any coastal structure designed to hold sand in one location will deprive another area of that eroded sand

- A letter signed by 43 of the country’s top coastal scientists reported, “There is no debate. A structure placed at the terminus of a barrier island, near an inlet, will interrupt the natural sand bypass system, deprive the ebb and flood tide deltas of sand and cause negative impacts to adjacent islands.”

- The flow of sand through inlets is important for maintaining island health, this system will cut off that natural flow

How Does This Effect The Sea?

The higher the tide, the more soil/sand erosion there is in an area. Wave height effects the land most. As the higher waters clash with the beach sand, more sediment is swept away. The lower tides are less harmful and take small amounts of sediment. The strongest waves take the most soil down stream, causing excessive damage. A terminal groin would reduce the amount of sand/soil removed from these tides. But if a terminal groin is put into place, this would deprive another area from receiving the sediment it needs, which is provided by the body of water.

Home Owners Are Responsible?

Many have been asking the same questions,"Should home owners be responsible for funding protection projects? This would make sense, seeing that home owners are considered being responsible for their land. But is this not a government issue? Home owners should be required to assist, but not be entirely responsible for the entire project. The government should be regulating the United State's water related issues, especially one this serious.


Where Do We Stand?

In conclusion, terminal groins are both beneficial and hurtful to the environment. Home owners can help to restore the waters, but they should not have to be held 100% accountable for everything. A terminal groin should not be built, it was natures intention to have sediment moved from one area to another that is in need of it. Stopping this erosion would hurt the environment and the surrounding organisms.

Key Terms

Groins- A curved edge formed by two intersecting vaults.

Inlet-A small arm of the sea, lake, or river.

Barrier Islands- A long narrow island lying parallel and close to the mainland, protecting the mainland from erosion and storms.

Wave height- A term used by mariners, as well as in coastal, ocean and naval engineering. At sea, the term significant wave height is used as a means to introduce a well-defined and standardized statistic to denote the characteristic height of the random waves in a sea state.

Jetties- A breakwater constructed to protect or defend a harbor, stretch of coast, or riverbank.