RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With hundreds of North Carolina beachfront properties at short-term erosion risk, a state panel launched last year will meet later this month to discuss threatened homes and structures at the coast.

State coastal management officials said last year that there were more than 750 structures at short-term risk of erosion with 350 “parcels” that are submerged as of 2020.

The erosion is “anticipated to worsen with increasing sea level rise and coastal storms,” according to the N.C. Division of Coastal Management.

High-profile structures falling into the ocean include homes along the Rodanthe area at the Outer Banks. In 2022, three homes fell into the sea at the Outer Banks — including two in one day.

House debris in the water — and the threat of it washing ashore — prompted several warnings from coastal officials.

“Recent examples in Rodanthe are reminders that a single home collapse can result in debris for up to 15 miles along the coast, potential for contamination from septic systems, injuries to beach visitors, and a range of environmental concerns,” according to a document about the creation of the Threatened Oceanfront Structures Interagency Work Group.

In August 2022, the Threatened Oceanfront Structures Interagency Work Group was created in an effort to make a “coordinated approach” to erosion-threatened structures.

  • Collapsed house in Rodanthe
  • Collapsed house in Rodanthe
  • Debris near ORV ramp 23 from collapsed house
  • Collapsed house in Rodanthe
  • Collapsed house in Rodanthe

The group plans a virtual meeting on Feb. 27 to discuss “property acquisition and financial assistance programs” for homeowners and local governments. The meeting is planned for 1 p.m. with WebEx and phone dial-in information here.

North Carolina has more than 320 miles of oceanfront beaches, including 133 miles within the
Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores that are managed by the National Park Service.

The data from state coastal management officials surveyed 8,777 oceanfront structures in the entire state, which means nearly 10 percent are at short-term risk.

The work group plans to hold several meetings and workshops this year with a final report outlining key recommendations for improved regulations, legislative changes, insurance-related policy changes, and/or financial measures, including needed engagement and outreach strategies at the federal, state, and local levels.