ECU survey looks at beach nourishment
(Mar. 21, 2000)
The number of North Carolina coastal residents who oppose taxes or fees for beach repair and replinishment projects outnumber those who are willing to pay to support such projects, according to a survey conducted recently by East Carolina University.
Dr. Bob Edwards, a sociology professor, said the survey of 563 adults residents in eight coastal counties found that only 36 percent of the residents are willing to pay an annual fee to fund beach nourishment.
A full 44 percent of those questioned said they were unwilling to pay any fee. Twenty percent were unsure. Specifically, the survey asked respondents "about how much would your household be willing to spend each year to repair North Carolina beaches after storms?"
Of the 36 percent who were willing to help pay for beach nourishment, 10 percent indicated less than $20 a year. Twelve percent supported $20 to $40; four percent favored $40 to $60; two percent selected $60 to $80; five percent chose $80 to $100; and three percent indicated they would spend more than $100 per year to put sand on the beaches.
The survey is particularly relevant, said Edwards, because of proposed beach nourishment initiatives under way in the state. A March 21 referendum in Carteret County defeated a $30 million bond proposal for beach nourishment projects on the popular tourist area of Bogue Banks.
When asked how often a household member goes to the beach for recreation, 22 percent said "never." Thirty-three percent indicated "a few times per year." Six percent said they visited the beach monthly. Eleven percent visited "a few times per month."
Twelve percent went "weekly," and 16 percent visited "more than once per week." Another question in the survey asked about damages caused to residents by hurricanes Dennis and Floyd. Twelve percent reported "no damage" or "minor damage," 37 percent cited "moderate damage," and 52 percent listed damage as "severe." The survey, conducted by the Survey Research Laboratory of ECU, was funded by North Carolina Sea Grant and the N.C. Division of Emergency Management.