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Emerald Isle plants sea oats in dunes to protect shoreline

Carteret County Shore Protection Office photo
Portions of the Emerald Isle strand will look this way for the next few weeks as a Florida company plants sea oats to help stabilize oceanfront dunes.

The Town of Emerald Isle will be planting thousands of sea oats over the next few weeks to help stabilize the dunes and protect properties adjacent to the beach. PRE’s Meredith Radford has details.

Emerald Isle awarded a contract to Aquatic Plants of Florida to install close to 300,000 pieces of vegetation over the course of 21 days. But town manager Matt Zapp says the process really started last fall.

“The company that won the bid came in and they extracted seeds, so they got all the seeds they needed from our existing vegetation, so that they had native seed starts. They took those seeds; they grew the seeds all winter at their greenhouses. And now they come back, and they plant them.”

Zapp says the town is replacing vegetation that was lost after an extensive three-year beach nourishment project following Hurricane Florence. He says weather and trampling are some reasons dune plants don't survive, and he asks that the public stay off the dunes.

The planting project, which costs around $250,000, is being paid for with a portion of property taxes in Emerald Isle that are reserved for beach nourishment, rehabilitation and mitigation projects, known locally as the “sand tax.” Zapp says the project should be completed around April 25.

For Public Radio East, I’m Meredith Radford.

Meredith Radford is a News Reporter for Public Radio East. She studied at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a degree in Journalism and Political Science. Born and raised in Eastern North Carolina, Meredith is excited to cover the area and contribute to the community. When not out reporting, she enjoys hiking, camping and kayaking as well as baking.