Beach cliffs

EDITOR: Beach scarps, the “seasonal cliffs” mentioned in your May 3 article “Seasonal cliffs cropping up at local beaches” are found on all beaches, natural and nourished, but are relatively rare on natural beaches. Almost all nourished beaches have scarps at some time in their history, reflecting the fact that nourished beaches disappear (erode) at least twice as fast as the natural beach they replaced.

These scarps can be very large and dangerous to beach strollers. A few years back, Wrightsville Beach had a 10-foot scarp. In 2002, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey stepped off a 4-foot-high scarp on a nourished beach and broke his leg.

Leveling the scarps, as was suggested in the news article, may be a good idea and may help turtle nesting and may actually decrease the rate of future erosion, at least for a short while. This is because a beach with a scarp may erode particularly rapidly.

Orrin H. Pilkey, Hillsborough

Editor's note: The writer is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology, Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, at Duke University. You can learn more about Dr. Pilkey’s research at

Let’s get connected

EDITOR: As Congress crafts their responses to the White House's proposed infrastructure bill, we need a balanced transportation system that includes roads, transit, rail lines, and trail networks. We can't forget walking and biking infrastructure.

The last National Household Travel Survey shows that, nearly 40 percent of all trips in the U.S. are within a 20-minute bike ride and over 20 percent are within a 20-minute walk. Connected networks for walking and biking are an essential part of a system of mobility choices that meet our changing needs.

I ask that you include walking and biking in your coverage of the infrastructure debate. And I ask Rep. David Rouzer and Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis to include funding for connected walking and biking networks as part of a balanced transportation system. As cities grow, we need to be sure we are planning ahead. Wilmington is a very active community and while we do have a decent number of parks with paved trails, we need better bike lanes throughout town and we need some non-paved trails for those who don't want to beat up their legs.

Layne Schwier, Wilmington

For the public good

EDITOR: In Southeastern North Carolina and throughout the nation, local, state and federal government employees serve and protect us. Our public servants deserve our appreciation daily, but Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), May 6-12, is a time set aside to honor them. Public service is a calling to serve one's fellow Americans, and PSRW is a week for recognizing and honoring those who followed that calling.

Our diverse workforce at the federal, state and local levels consists of highly talented individuals with a strong drive to improve the lives of the American people. They ensure a clean environment, teach our children, safeguard the food we eat, protect our communities from violence, help stabilize and grow the economy, come to our rescue after disasters and research cures for diseases, to name just a few ways public servants make our lives better.

This is an excellent time to reflect on the hard work and dedication of our government workforce. Please join me in thanking our public servants for the important work they do for our community.

Donald Messer, Leland

Water worries

EDITOR: Since its inception, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has had a myriad of problems. There were billing issues because the old system and the new were not run parallel for comparison. I offered free consultation to look at the problems. That was rebuffed by the manager at the time.

Move ahead 22 years and problems persist -- notably GenX and the recent fluoride scare for an extended area, including where I live in Porters Neck.

I think it is time for an indepth investigation of the management of CFPUA and the day-to-day operation and safeguards in place to monitor and protect a source so vital to so many.

I am not an alarmist, but as a retired financial executive, I know the importance of finding problems before they blow up in your face and escalate.

Bob Eakins, Wilmington