The Shell Island Dilemma

The Main Issue

The Shell Island Resort is in danger of being destroyed by a migrating inlet. Mason's Inlet is moving south rapidly. The Shell Island Resort is currently situated in an Inlet Hazard Zone and is in dire straits.

In this inquiry simulation, your objective is to investigate the issues concerning the fate of the Shell Island Resort and then debate the future of this and other oceanfront structures threatened by coastal erosion. As you engage in your investigation, identify the social, political, and scientific issues with which different stakeholders must deal. You will place yourself into the role of one of the stakeholders.

Stakeholders' Resources

The stakeholders in the Shell Island Dilemma are as follows:

1. The Shell Island Resort homeowners

2. The Wrightsville Beach town manager

3. North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission members

4. Coastal engineers

5. Coastal scientists

6. Members of the environmental advocacy organization, North Carolina Coastal Federation

As you explore the resources, remember that you are in the role of a stakeholder. Think about and try to determine the current North Carolina policies regarding the placement of hard structures in public trust areas such as the beach.

Complete parts A., B., and C. below for this project.

A. Write a summary of the problem and suspected causes of the erosion.

B. Question: How does the current coastal policy affect your vested interests as a stakeholder?
(Answer this section in regards to your role/position as one of the stakeholders that you are assigned.)

C. After reviewing the resources, prepare a statement to decide what should be the next course of action regarding the Shell Island Resort.

(Answer this section in regards to what you personally think based on what you learned.)

Use specific data to support your statements, and cite the data used in sections A., B., and C. You may include data, images, etc. in your paper.

Click on your stakeholder name, on the active web page (, to read a brief description of your stakeholder role and to see a recommended list of important resources to review.

Each student should complete a Position Statement Handout Form (below) to assist you in the project.

Position Statement Handout Form

1. Is your position for or against building a hard structure to protect the Shell Island Resort?

2. What arguments support your position?

3. What other individuals, interest groups, or organizations do you think would agree with your position?

4. What other individuals, interest groups, or organizations do you think would disagree with your position?

5. What are some arguments against your position?

6. How would you respond to these arguments?