Topsail Island Plan Revealed

A Winston-Salem-based nonprofit granted $5 million in state funds aimed to complete what could turn out to be several long-term, storm-mitigation projects along Topsail Island, informs the Coastal Review Online.

Resource Institute (RI), which received the multi-million-dollar Division of Water Resources grant last year, will spearhead a yet-to-be formed committee that will prioritize a list of proposed projects in the three towns on the island.

The list of 23 proposed projects the towns submitted to RI totals an estimated $40 million and covers everything from stormwater mitigation to beach access ramps for vehicles, pumping systems for flood waters and sea oat planting to stabilize dunes, according to institute officials who provided the information.

When RI initially received the grant last summer, the nonprofit was instructed to use the money to work with coastal local governments and engineering firms “to explore opportunities for the development and implementation of emerging techniques that can extend the useful life of beach nourishment projects,” according to state budget language.

Smith and Charles Anderson, RI’s consulting agent, met last week with the Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Commission, or TISPC, in Topsail Beach to explain the role of the committee.

The task force, chaired by either Smith or Anderson, will consist of representatives appointed by each town (one person per town), two sitting RI board members — Dick Barber of Washington, North Carolina, and Roy Pender of Southport — and North Carolina Coastal Federation Executive Director Todd Miller. RI has asked town officials to submit the names of prospective task force members by Feb. 15.

The committee will review and rank each project, then those projects selected by the committee will be sent to Raleigh for approval.