Here’s What’s Happening of Late at The Beach Recovery Foundation!

July 7, 2015

The BRF is pleased to be collaborating with France TV 5 on a documentary covering natural threats facing the U.S., (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, erosion, sea level rise). Their East Coast filming will take place on the NY/NJ shore, Outer Banks, and Miami. If you would like to be involved, please let us know.

July 6, 2015

The BRF would like to pay tribute to Judy M. Little (1942-2015). Judy loved the Outer Banks, NC her entire life– from the days of renting cottages while starting a family to finally purchasing a cottage in 1972 and then retiring to Kitty Hawk in 2013. Judy and her family spent most of their lives walking the beaches and swimming the waters of the Outer Banks.  Judy was passionate about the Outer Banks, about Kitty Hawk, about the beaches. She loved them with all of her heart.

July 2, 2015

A shout out to our friends at Pizza e Vita in NYC who agreed to host our upcoming fundraising event. Details upcoming. Below, our staff and interns enjoy all sorts of gourmet pizza.


The Benefits of Offshore Ports in the U.S. & Africa

By Marco Pluijm, Ports and Marine Sector Manager, Bechtel

In many parts of the world, offshore ports are a good solution for meeting the requirements of the rapid changes in the international container and bulk shipping industry. Bigger ships, changing routes and destinations require larger and deeper ports, which port owners and operators can be confident will be capable of handling ever-increasing sizes of vessels for many years to come.

Changing Shipping Routes

One of the major challenges in the current container shipping industry is to bundle and organize capacity in the most economical way. In terms of vessel size, Maersk is leading with its Triple E vessels, but the capacity of these new, larger ships needs to be combined with other main carriers in order for it to be effective. Various alliances have been formed, and new ones are being developed. As part of this process, capacity is being shifted to routes which haven’t changed for many years, for example in West Africa. Due to the so-called cascading down process, ships which were never originally intended for use in West Africa will now soon be there. Ports like Abidjan are already anticipating these changes and looking at possible solutions. Others are talking about it but haven’t really started to tackle the issue yet. However, many of the traditional ports lack the physical possibilities (in terms of size, depth, finance, etc.) to make the changes required to enable them to cater for larger vessels and increased capacity. As a consequence, offshore hubs along parts of the West and East African coasts are a solution: in the Guinea/Liberia region for the export of minerals; in the Cameroon/Gabon region for containers; and in Mozambique for bulk. The benefits are massive. We’ve predicted that the savings in investment and operational costs could add up to between 40 to 50 percent.


Similar developments can be seen on the East Coast of the U.S. Due to the same cascading effect and the fact that the biggest container vessels can sail direct via the Suez Canal straight to the U.S. East Coast, an option that is rapidly developing as an alternative for the New Panama Canal. The route via Suez has a greater degree of freedom in terms of ship sizes, especially when the planned increase in two-lane capacity is ready. The big question now is if and how quickly the U.S. East Coast ports can adjust to this development. New cranes have just been ordered and installed for the New Panamax vessel sizes. Some ports have dredged their channels and quays and widened their basins at substantial cost. Others aren’t yet ready to do this, which might be an advantage. Investing in an offshore port could be the best solution by providing a hub for a whole region with fewer limitations for long term development than is often the case in existing ports without limitations in free height (draft), which is an issue in New Jersey for instance, or for various environmental reasons.


Are Offshore Ports a Solution?

Some coasts are just not suitable for deep water ports due to their extended shallow foreshore. For a required water depth of say 20 m, a deep water port might need to be 15 km or more away from the shoreline. This is a situation found along large parts of the African coast, particularly in West and East Africa. So instead of bringing the ship to the port and dredging long and deep channels and port basins on the coastline, one solution could be to bring the port to the ship at the required water depth with an offshore port providing various handling facilities for bulk and/or terminals for containers. Barging the cargo to and from the offshore facility and terminals to nearby coastal or river ports, and using existing corridors and facilities can thus save on capital construction and operational costs. It can also reduce the environmental impact and minimize the ecological footprint. By concentrating present and future development in one spot, an offshore port could work very well not just in Africa but also in the U.S. Currently, up to 70 percent of all West Coast containers move east by rail and road. If only 20 percent of these containers would shift from overland transport to all-water direct import via the Suez Canal to an East Coast offshore port, this would save:

* 20 to 30 percent on direct freight costs from the Far East to the U.S. East coast due to the all-water economy of larger scale shipping

* 30 to 40 percent (or even more) on direct freight costs due to 40 to 50 percent shorter overland transport distance in the U.S. itself

* 20 to 30 percent in emissions on the all-water-route (lower fuel consumption, more efficient engines) plus a 40 to 50 percent reduction in overland transport emissions.

The estimated overall cost reduction for an East Coast multi-user offshore hub compared to improving existing ports and relying on overland transport is between 30 to 40 percent for both investment and operations. And lower freight costs could also mean lower consumer prices and therefore a better situation for the overall economy. Instead of ships first going via Caribbean hubs, having an offshore port hub in the United States would mean that without extra handling, the industry can keep money and jobs in the U.S.

For the mining industry, using an off-shore hub would provide overall better performance and therefore easier overall feasibility of the whole development, which means earlier viability of the development of the whole prospect. Mining projects that weren’t feasible in the traditional setting with a rail link and one or more coastal ports can become viable when choosing an offshore hub. Even more so when in combination with (in- land) barging or coastal shipping.


The Concept

In the offshore port model, no dredging is required as the facility is placed in water of sufficient depth, say 20 to 22 meters. In order to avoid or reduce the need for expensive breakwaters, technologies such as dynamically controlled mooring and proactive fender systems will be used to guarantee safe operations and a sufficient wide operating window for handling the cargo.

For bulk, the degrees of freedom are usually much larger than for containers, which is why these dynamic systems are being used on an increasing number of container terminals all over the world, especially in existing ports with heavy swell issues.

For containers, the offshore hub would consist of a smart terminal arrangement of say two or three berths for the main carriers and four or five for barges to nearby ports and coastal shipping. The facilities can be extended in almost any combination with dry bulk, wet bulk and containers, depending on zoning and safety requirements.


This concept is not entirely new. Bechtel has already built the deep water Khalifa Port and Khalifa Industrial Zone in Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s largest combined port and industrial zone developments. However, Khalifa Port is connected to the mainland by a causeway and bridge and the offshore hub proposal is essentially an island. There are similarities in terms of port and terminal operations, as well as scale. The offshore hub would be able to handle up to 4 million TEU per year.


The offshore hub represents a viable solution to the future needs of ports, which need to adapt to the ever-increasing sizes of vessels, particularly in the U.S. and Africa. Offering the opportunity to save costs, minimize environmental impact and increase capacity, this concept could provide the answer where traditional ports cannot. Its prospects look promising. In Africa, the multi-user offshore port concept provides a strategic solution by maximizing the benefits of infrastructure corridors. While in the U.S., Bechtel is currently in discussions with various government agencies about the development of an offshore port on the East Coast.

Note: The following article was written/published on February 6, 2015 by – “News & More for American Samoa.”  The photograph of CEO Greg Sarno being interviewed by KVZK TV at Utulei Park, was added by the Beach Recovery Foundation.

Group wants to study beach erosion


A group from the United States, Beach Recovery Foundation, wants to help the territory address beach erosion and their CEO and vice president are here to seek government approval for a pilot study on beach erosion at Utulei and Fagaalu.

A key objective of Beach Recovery Foundation is to educate, fund and study research to solve the erosion problem around the world.

Gregory Sarno, founder and chairman of the foundation says in correspondence with the Department of Commerce that they propose a pilot study at their own costs at Fagaalu and Utulei beaches to learn the cause of the erosion and identify how best to control it.

Mr. Sarno and Vice President, Real Estate and Special Programs, Jeffrey Mitchell arrived over the weekend to meet with ASG officials as well as leaders of the two villages involved to explain what they are trying to do.

They will also be diving at Utulei and Fagaalu to collect data.

The study will involve placing what are called geo textile tubes filled with sand in one area and another with concrete to compare the effectiveness of either method to prevent erosion.

There will also be a coastal engineering analysis.

The study is proposed for one year and upon completion the group says it will hand over results to ASG.

The two officials have done presentations for Fagaalu and Utulei villages and government departments and are scheduled to conduct one for the governor on Monday.

The Beach Recovery Foundation Declares a State of Emergency for Hatteras Island

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 – Press Release

Buxton, NC – The Beach Recovery Foundation (BRF) today declared that a breach of Route 12 just north of Buxton is imminent, which the BRF predicts will result in a new inlet, sealing Hatteras Island off from the rest of the Outer Banks.

According to a July, 2013 study presented to the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, entitled “Hatteras Island Economic Impact,” in 2011, tourism generated $204 million, accounted for 2618 jobs, and contributed to $10.3 million in state taxes and $9.4 million in local taxes – most of it during the summer months.  A shutdown of the island would therefore have a severe impact on the entire state of North Carolina.

The BRF has determined that the erosion of Hatteras Island is man-made – not “nature taking its course” – and is thus reversible, stemming from the constant dredging of the Oregon Inlet. However, the BRF does acknowledge the importance of the fishing industry and is striving to find an environmentally friendly way to allow it to continue to thrive.

We urge North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to declare Hatteras Island a disaster area so that the necessary federal and state funds may be allocated to beach nourishment and other measures that will protect the area for as long as possible until a permanent solution can be researched and implemented.

According to Western Carolina University, North Carolina has carried out 221 beach nourishment projects totaling $617,223,415 in 2012 dollars and covering 1,131,163 feet. Of that, only seven were done on Hatteras Island, with a total cost of $11,415,909 in 2012 dollars, and only covering a mere 5951 feet. Worse, the last beach nourishment project dates all the way back to 1973 – 41 years ago.

The BRF reminds everyone that evidence of human presence at the Outer Banks dates back to 11,000BC. The island predates Plymouth, MA as the first English colony. It is therefore one of America’s rare historical and environmental treasures that must be preserved regardless of how it came to be in its present state.

About the Beach Recovery Foundation, Inc.

The mission of the Beach Recovery Foundation is to a) create awareness of, and b) seek out and fund research and development solutions designed to remedy man-made coastal erosion directly attributable to the construction and maintenance of navigation inlets. The Beach Recovery Foundation firmly believes technology exists today that can de-energize wave energy allowing a) sand from a dredge to be stabilized, creating a much longer-lasting result, and b) sand at the near-shore to be perpetually accreted.

One of The Beach Recovery Foundation’s campaigns is “Save the Banks,” an outreach program to find ways to preserve and protect the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Please find us on the web at and on Facebook at The Beach Recovery Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non for profit organization. All donations are tax-exempt.

Spending hundreds of millions of dollars for a supposed long-term bridge bypass solution for the constantly eroding Pea Island in the Outer Banks is akin to planning heart replacement surgery on a sick patient instead of first trying to cure him/her of the underlying illness. Replacing the existing Bonner Bridge will stabilize the patient – the beleaguered residents of the Banks — and allow for plenty of saved money to be used to research a cure for the underlying erosion of Pea Island and the Banks in general. The end result will be renewed traffic flow through to Hatteras, a healthy Pea Island, and plenty of leftover money to spend toward additional conservation of the entire region.

It is no secret that the Outer Banks are eroding at an alarming rate. However, as this problem is largely man-made, namely the constant dredging of the Oregon Inlet, it is reversible. Specifically, every time there is a dredge, it sucks more and more coastline into the giant hole that is created. So to say this is all nature’s doing, deal with it, is absurd.

There are those who argue that money spent on the Outer Banks benefits tourists and a relative few North Carolina residents. What they fail to recognize is that barrier islands are just that–barriers. If the Outer Banks were to suddenly disappear, a large stretch of the main coastline – way more populous and built-up than the outer banks – would get smashed instead. The cost would not be in the millions, but many billions. Furthermore, the three million tourists who flock to the Outer Banks each year bring in significant tax revenue for the entire state.

Then there are those who consider our shorelines as playgrounds for the wealthy. While the coast is for sure a desirable place to live, save the entire U.S. going under water, there will always be a coastline regardless of who decides to live there. At some point we do literally have to draw a line in the sand and protect our shores from hurricanes the same way we routinely protect our houses from earthquakes or tornadoes. Restoring dune structures and the natural bathymetry of the ocean bottom through accretion engineering would not just stabilize the beaches, but also naturally dissipate strong wave energy, allowing sand to be deposited on shore, not be carried out to sea.

In 1999, geologist Richard L. Watson prepared a study for the state of Texas chronicling the enormous loss of sand from the Bolivar Peninsula off Galveston Bay resulting from the creation of the man-made Rollover Fish Pass. His recommendations to reverse this man-made problem, which concurred with ‘every scientific and engineering study for 40 years’, were ignored. In 2008, with nature’s defenses eroded away, Hurricane Ike knocked 99.5% of the structures off their foundations, destroying most of them. If we allow hundreds of millions to be spent on a long bypass bridge in the Outer Banks instead of on reversing erosion, in the near future the bridge may be the only structure left standing, leading to nowhere.

The Beach Recovery Foundation does not pretend to have all the answers. However, we do recognize that, like the Bolivar Peninsula, the Outer Banks are at a critical danger level where something needs to be done short-term, in addition, not instead of, something being planned for the long term. We also recognize that the Outer Banks is truly the first British Colony, not Jamestown, and therefore its value to US history, let alone the state of North Carolina, is priceless. We therefore truly cannot comprehend how any proud North Carolinian would ever want to see the Outer Banks fade into the sea-at least without a fight.



Our members are constantly asking us how they can help the cause. We tell them that knowledge is power. The more we can all educate each other on the severity of losing healthy coastlines, the greater the chance governments will finally choose to do something to remedy the hazards of erosion.

Therefore, to encourage people to check out our foundation website and get educated, we ask that our members show solidarity by occasionally offering specials and discounts specifically for other members. To be able to take advantage of these special offers, all a customer/member need do is display any item bearing the distinctive BRF cross logo. Alternately, non-members need simply promise they will join our cause the first chance they get.

All BRF events, corporate or member initiated, will be displayed together, under the Events menu option as well as on our Facebook page. To participate, so that we may encourage our members to patronize your caring and enlightened establishment, simply send us an email at Please include the following information:

For Display:

– Name of Your Establishment

– Address/Phone

– Website URL

– Promotion Details

Not for Display:

– Contact person

– Contact phone

– Contact email

Thank you!