photo courtesy of Rudi Rudolph
A final set of sediment criteria recommendations were presented formally to the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) by the chairman of the CRC Science Panel on Coastal Hazards, Dr. John Fisher, on January 27, 2005 (click here read Dr. Fisher’s transmittal letter). After considering these recommendations, the CRC Implementation & Standards
(I&S) Committee voted unanimously to allow a brief evaluation period as suggested by DCM Staff (click hear to read the complete DCM sediment criteria strategy outlined in I&S memo 05-01). The evaluation period will provide the requisite scientific data needed by the CRC in order to consider the implications of augmenting and/or replacing the current rule language governing nourishment and dredged material disposal projects along the NC oceanfront.
The Science Panel’s sediment compatibility discussions that led to these recommendations, primarily the need to define the term “compatible,” arose from an abundance of coarse material placed on the beaches of Oak Island (cobbles) and Pine Knoll Shores (shell hash) in 2001 and 2002, respectively. In addition, the existing rule language that governs the sediment compatibility of beach nourishment on the oceanfront, i.e. 15A NCAC 07H.0308(a)(3), is deemed vague and ineffective: “Sand used for beach nourishment shall be compatible with existing grain size and type; sand to be used for beach nourishment shall be taken only from those areas where the resulting environmental impacts will be minimal.” Click here to read all rules in NCAC 15A 07H.
It is the recommendation of staff that the CRC considers the amendment of the aforementioned rule in a three-phase approach: 1) recommendation, 2) evaluation and development, and 3) implementation. The Science Panel’s formal recommendations to the CRC will complete the first phase of this process. If the CRC chooses to move forward with the second phase, staff will assess if and how current and recent beach nourishment and dredge disposal projects would have been affected by the Science Panel recommendations. Based on this validation procedure, continued research of pertinent data and peer-reviewed research, and stakeholder input, draft rule language will be developed by staff and presented to the CRC for discussion (likely at their November 2005 meeting). At the conclusion of this second phase, the CRC can choose to implement the resultant sediment criteria by amending existing rule language as set forth in the North Carolina Administrative Procedure Act (#394F80).
It is important to note that these recommendations are not intended as rules but rather a starting point for draft rule language to be considered by the CRC. During the development of draft language (part of the ongoing second phase – evaluation and development), the Division of Coastal Management is seeking input from any party of interest. This website provides information and documentation on sediment criteria and related issues to facilitate an open exchange of ideas through active participation.
For more information on sediment criteria, contact Jeff Warren, DCM's Coastal Hazards Analyst, at 919-733-2293, ext. 251.