Thesis Title

Resident Perception of Shoreline Recession in Nags Head, North Carolina

Date of Graduation

Spring 1987


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

William Cheek

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


Shoreline recession has become a major concern in many coastal communities. This concern has developed largely because of the tremendous expense associated with trying to save coastal structures from the damage, and even total destruction, that can result from shoreline erosion. While land use regulations can be used to help avoid these expenses, their effectiveness is greatly influenced by the attitudes of the areas's local property owners. These attitudes concerning beach erosion may vary significantly between beach front property owners and other property owners. The major concern of this study, therefore, was to determine if a significant difference in attitudes concerning the issue of beach erosion exists between beach front property owners and other property owners who live in Nags Head, North Carolina. One hundred property owners were interviewed using a stratified random sample. The results indicate that while beach front property owners and other property owners have similar ideas and perceptions on the erosion issue, there was a significant difference between the two groups concerning the appropriate use of tax monies. Beach front property owners were more likely to advocate the spending of local, state and federal government funds for erosion projects. Significant differences were also apparent on two other issues: the desirability of motorized vehicles on the beach and whether or not a stabilized dune system decreases the rate of erosion. In both cases, beach front property owners have a "front yard view". This first hand observation may help to make them more cognizant of the problem. It is clear that more information might allow the voters in Nags Head to have a better understanding of the beach processes which, in turn should lead to more informed policy decisions.


© Lisa Elaine Hosey