Accomplishments: 2017

December, 2017

(Note: Goal in plain text; accomplishment in italics)

Overall: The Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Commission (TISPC) improved the method of communicating specific goals to both our State advocate and a new Federal advocate. This resulted in increasing results that were beneficial for our Island. We improved outreach to our stakeholders through our new website which had 462 visitors in 2017 with over 1700 page views.

North Carolina Legislature

  • Protect funding and explore the expand use of the Shallow Draft Inlet Fund
    • Our advocate continued to monitor the situation and urged state legislators to look at other sources of revenue to fund the new Coastal Storm Mitigation Fund authorized by the 2017 Legislature.
  • Help find permanent sources of additional funding for beach nourishment at the state level
    • The NC Legislature passed HB56 after overriding the veto by Governor Roy Cooper. Part of the legislation language in HB56 authorized the establishment of the NC Coastal Storm Mitigation Fund.
      • Our advocate played a key role in getting this legislation passed along with other advocacy groups and individuals.
    • Work on passage of property insurance legislation to reduce and control the high property and flood insurance rates for Topsail Island property owners
      • Our advocate has tracked and reported on insurance legislation at the state level especially legislation that affects higher flood insurance and homeowner rates.
    • Assist with needed legislation and funding for hardened structures
      • Through the efforts of our advocate and others, Senator Harry Brown sponsored legislation that resulted in a $2,000,000 grant to N. Topsail Beach to be used for future construction of a hardened structure.
    • Notify TISPC of any legislation that could impact Topsail Island activities on the ocean, inlet and sound
      • Our advocate alerted us to the changes proposed by the NC Wildlife Federation to “Designate Special Secondary Nursery Areas and Reduce Bycatch Mortality in North Carolina Coastal Fishing Waters.” Not only would the proposed legislation have had a negative impact on commercial fisheries, it would also have had a negative impact on obtaining CAMA permits and building in these designated areas along the coast.
        • Through the efforts of our advocate and others to block this proposed legislation it did not receive NC legislative support.
      • Provide insight regarding dune protection regulations
        • TISPC was alerted to possible legislation that would have impacted all of North Carolina but was targeted at Topsail Beach that would have prevented building along the majority of the North Carolina coast. TISPC and its advocates led the discussion to remove this from legislative consideration.
        • This issue of dune protection and maintenance is under consideration by the NC Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) through a request by the TISPC and other concerned organizations.
      • Regulatory Reform Act of 2016 – Direct the NC Coastal Resources Commission to amend the sediment criteria rule to exempt sediment from cape shoal systems.
        • This change could impact quality of sand used for re-nourishment projects.
        • Without this amendment, fine-grain sand particles less than 0.21 inches could be used from cape shoals for beach nourishment with the likelihood of only short-term beach preservation.
        • Our advocate continues to follow this situation.

United States Congress

  • Continue to facilitate the changes to CRBA mapping.
    • Our federal advocate has done a remarkable job scoping out a strategy for a federal legislative approach. At present a Senate bill sponsored by Senator Tillis and Senator Burr is in sub-committee hearings that would make this map amendment. Congressman Jones has offered a similar House version.
  • A partnership with Onslow County, Federal Government (US Marines) and NTB to dredge New River Inlet and maintain for both the commercial fishery and recreational boating use plus support US Marines use. Dredged sand to be use for beach nourishment.
    • A New River Inlet Stakeholder Group has been formed under leadership of the US Army Corps of Engineers to meet the needs of both improved navigation in the inlet as well as providing a source of sand for beach nourishment.
  • Obtain waivers for use of sand from inlet CRBA area for beach nourishment.
    • Our federal advocate has been working diligently to find an administrative solution to this problem which affects not only Topsail Beach but a number of other municipalities both within NC as well as in other states.
    • Through our advocate’s efforts it has become apparent that a legislative change will be needed to solve this issue.
  • Obtain federal funding and/or removal of 7-year sunset clause from approved federal beach nourishment projects (Surf City/North Topsail Beach & Topsail Beach).
    • Our federal advocate has made our case to the USACE Administration Officials in Washington and the good cost benefit ratio in putting our federal projects forward. Our projects were ranked in the top five in the Southeastern district.
  • We need total NC congressional delegations committed to supporting programs for coastal storm management.
    • Our advocate has been a very successful catalyst to bring together the NC congressional delegations in support of coastal programs as evidenced by the Senate and House bills mentioned above that will correct an administrative decision made 35 years ago
  • Federal Funding Proposal: Set up a dedicated fund such as the NC State Shallow Draft Inlet Bill. It could charge for documented vessels both private and commercial and ask for a portion of the Federal Gas Tax to fund nourishment and inlet projects.
    • At the present time our advocate has advised that there is no support for this type of federal help.
  • Notify TISPC of any legislation that could impact Topsail Island activities on the ocean, inlet and sound
    • We have been informed of the direction of the federal budget and how the proposed legislation on funding infrastructure improvements may develop with a coastal component.


NCBIWAs (North Carolina Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association)

  • Improved coordination with NCBIWA through participation in the local-government conference and the annual conference by several members of TISPC.
  • Several TISPC commissioners and Topsail Island officials are now on the board of directors of NCBIWA, thus improving communication and coordination.
  • The NCBIWA Executive Director, Kathleen Riely, was instrumental in partnering with our state advocate to promote passage of NC legislation establishing the Coastal Storm Mitigation Fund.

 For an expanded description of the 2017 Accomplishments open