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North Carolina's Outer Banks Project Totals $99 million

The cost of beach nourishment projects along North Carolina’s Outer Banks will total $99 million.

The money is the most that has ever been spent on the Dare County coast in one year, the Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday.

The beach nourishment projects are being conducted from Duck to Buxton. They’re needed because storms often push the ocean over dunes into neighborhoods. Beaches can also become so narrow that waves at high tide lap at the doorsteps of oceanfront homes.

The cost of preventing beaches from shrinking is being offset by revenues from tax districts, federal and state help, and levies on lodging.

The $99 million total is based on figures from a database that is kept by the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University.

The beaches are the economic engine of the tourism-based economy. But the price tag is raising questions from some about the sustainability of such efforts in the long run.

“What happens when you can’t afford to keep those beaches in place anymore?” Rob Young, director of the program, said. “There will come a point where it will become so darn expensive they’re not going to want to do it anymore.”

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