Memo-11-13-2018-Item-14

November 13, 2018

MEMO TO:        Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:             Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:       Eastern Emerald Isle Post-Florence Beach Nourishment Project - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider 2 formal actions to revise the project scope and financing plan for the planned beach nourishment project in eastern Emerald Isle in winter 2018-19.  These actions reflect a change in the overall project goal (to focus on the replacement of sand lost during Hurricane Florence rather than the originally envisioned project discussed earlier this year), increase the overall scope of the project to fully replace the Florence losses, and reflect a reliance on FEMA funding for the project.  A proposed capital project ordinance amendment revises the overall project budget from $9,200,000 to $15,915,000, while an accompanying Future Beach Nourishment Fund budget amendment simply returns $1,829,000 of previously budgeted Town funds to the Future Beach Nourishment Fund.   

Revised Project Scope

As discussed with the Board in July, the previously planned Eastern Emerald Isle Beach Nourishment Project included the placement of approximately 471,000 cubic yards of sand along an ~ 3 mile segment of beach between the Indian Beach town limits and the Eastern Ocean Regional Access.  This project was expected to have a total cost of approximately $9,200,000, and be funded by a combination of funding from the NC Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund, the Carteret County Beach Commission, and the Future Beach Nourishment Fund.  Project permits were/are essentially in hand for this project, and the Town, Carteret County, and the Town of Indian Beach were preparing to solicit construction bids in September when Hurricane Florence struck.     

As noted during the October Board meeting, Hurricane Florence removed nearly 2.2 million cubic yards of sand from the entire (12+ miles) ocean beach in Emerald Isle.  The Town is in the process of submitting a FEMA claim to replace all sand lost as a result of Florence (a total of 617,100 cubic yards lost in eastern EI, and an additional 1,563,637 cubic yards lost in central and western Emerald Isle), and we are optimistic that FEMA will ultimately approve funding to replace this lost sand.  The Board should note that the total estimate to replace all of the Florence sand has been revised upward to approximately $56.7 million (from the $40 million originally estimated) to reflect changing market conditions and to provide a sufficient contingency.  Of this total, the eastern Emerald Isle project (617,100 cubic yards) has an estimated cost of $15,915,000.

The Town, in conjunction with Carteret County and the Town of Indian Beach, is currently soliciting construction bids for the (now-renamed) Eastern Emerald Isle Post-Florence Beach Nourishment Project, and bids are due on November 20.  Assuming a favorable construction bid, the Board will likely be asked to approve a construction contract in December.  As a result of Hurricane Florence, the revised project scope now includes the placement of approximately 617,100 cubic yards along a total project length of 16,375 linear feet (or 3.1 miles), and would now extend just slightly west of the Ocean Drive “dog-leg” vehicle ramp.  The revised project scope now includes the construction of a 25 ft. wide dune up to an elevation of +12 feet above sea level, the installation of new dune plantings, and the construction of a 40 – 60 ft. wide flat beach berm at an elevation of +6 feet above sea level.  The average placement rate in the eastern Emerald Isle area is nearly 38 cubic yards per linear ft. 

Assuming a contract is awarded in December, it is likely that construction would begin sometime in January or February, and the project would be complete before the end of April.  If the Town does not receive a favorable bid, this project will likely be delayed until winter 2019-2020 and potentially incorporated into a massive project that would also include central and western Emerald Isle (at a total estimated cost of ~ $56.7 million provided by FEMA).  The additional FEMA funds (~ $40.8 million) will be formally appropriated at such time that central and western Emerald Isle are constructed (envisioned for winter 2019-2020).

Budget Amendment – Future Beach Nourishment Fund

The Board previously appropriated a total of $1,829,000 from the Future Beach Nourishment Fund for the originally planned project, and these funds would be formally returned to the Future Beach Nourishment Fund in the attached budget amendment.  With the return of these funds, the projected balance in the Future Beach Nourishment Fund as of June 30, 2019 is now expected to exceed $4 million.  These funds would continue to be reserved for long-term beach nourishment activities not funded by FEMA. 

Capital Project Ordinance Amendment

As noted above, the estimated cost for the Eastern Emerald Isle Post-Florence Beach Nourishment Project is now $15,915,000, and the attached capital project ordinance amendment reflects this revised cost estimate and the expected receipt of FEMA funds for this project.  The attached capital project ordinance amendment also includes a procedural adjustment to return $1.15 million (of the total $1.829 million described above) that was appropriated in FY 17-18 to the Future Beach Nourishment Fund, and presents an overall overstated project budget of $17,065,000.

I recommend approval of the attached budget amendment and capital project ordinance amendment, and remain hopeful that the planned beach nourishment project will be constructed in the coming months.  The replacement of the sand lost during Hurricane Florence will provide valuable storm protection from expected winter storm events and future hurricane threats that will likely occur between now and winter 2019-2020.