Coquina Beach

Figure 11. The remnants of a dune built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s to prevent overwash at Coquina Beach. (Photograph by Blair Tormey. More about the photograph)

Storm overwash is one of the more prevalent processes with which humans must cope on the Outer Banks. During storms, large volumes of sand are eroded from the seaward side of the islands and redeposited in large overwash fans, which extend landward across the island.

Coquina Beach is located along an overwash-dominated portion of the northern Outer Banks. In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps built two palisade dunes at Coquina Beach to abate storm overwash. The primary palisade dune has since been battered by storms, most notably the Halloween Storm of 1991. The remains of a four-masted wooden schooner that wrecked in 1921 lie partially buried in the first palisade dune, and serve as silent testimony to the storm energy which dominates this section of coastline. The secondary palisade dune is still relatively intact and well vegetated.