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Buyout of vulnerable houses at Cape Hatteras NS would cost less than trying to save the beach: study

As coastal erosion, sea-level rise, and more potent storms continue to risk the loss of beach houses at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, a new report suggests it would be much less costly to buy out the homeowners rather than investing in beach nourishment work.

The report, by Rob Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, places the cost of buying 80 houses — one dating to 1965 — at risk of being pulled into the Atlantic at Rodanthe at nearly $43 million. The cost of dredging up tons of sand to place on the beachfront at Rodanthe to protect the houses is estimated at about $120 million over 15 years, according to Rodanthe Sand Needs Assessment Dare County, North Carolina, which was prepared by Coastal Science and Engineering.

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