The beach is our most important resource. It is valuable not only as a barrier against storm damage and as the economic engine of the City, but as a recreational area for hundreds of thousands of people each year and a habitat for a variety of wildlife. To make our beach the best it can be, the City must not only refine past practices, but search out new solutions and creative means of financing and maintaining beach management projects. Some highlights of our beach management efforts are described below.
Renourishment & Stabilization
The largest challenge to beach management on Folly is chronic erosion, primarily caused by the Charleston harbor jetties that block the flow of sand from north to south along the coast. To help mitigate this damage, the City has a contractual partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers for periodic beach renourishment. We completed the last nourishment in 2014.
On May 11, 2017 the City of Folly Beach applied for state and federal permits to stabilize the beach and dunes by rehabilitating groins between 8th Street East and 14th Street East. If approved, the groins could be constructed in late 2017 or early 2018, although delays are always expected in projects involving this level of local, state, and federal coordination. Over time, the goal is to mimic the success of the groins between the pier and 8th Street East, which have largely stabilized the sand in that area and built up a robust dune system.
The City is also working with the Army Corps to repair erosional hot spots on the East End of the island. We have applied for post-storm emergency assistance after Hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew. If funded, approximately 450,000 cubic yards of sand could be placed on the East end.
Finally, the Charleston District of the Army Corps has initiated a consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service for approval to use sand from the Stono Inlet and Folly River for the next renourishment (either post-storm repair or a later, full nourishment). The sand lies within a federally-protected CBRA zone, but we estimate that receiving permission to use this nearshore borrow area could save the City $12 million and the federal government $68 million over the next 25 years.
The City conducts annual monitoring of the beach to gauge the width of the berm and the overall volume of sand. This helps us plan for the next renourishment cycle and also provides a baseline assessment should a major storm make emergency nourishment or federal relief necessary.
Please take a look at the results of the 2016 Monitoring Report.
Part of the City’s job is to maintain the protective berm created by renourishment. To this end we have set aside money in the budget for sand placement beyond the federal project on an ongoing basis as erosional hotspots occur. This proactive approach protects the integrity of the renourishment project and extends the life of the protective berm.
Beach Management Plan
The city’s Local Comprehensive Beach Management Plan has been adopted by the City and the State.
A copy of the LCBMP can be found here:
The plan deals with many important areas of beach management.
- Short-term: Dune Management Plan and Identifying new borrow area for renourishment
- Mid-term: Improve renourishment project performance through groins or design modification
- Long-term: Regional sediment management, extending nourishment interval, and reducing costs; begin saving for future property acquisition if property becomes uninhabitable
The plan also reviews many of the City’s existing ordinances designed to preserve and protect the beach. Examples include rules that govern:
- Lot coverage
- Maximum house size
- Rules for nonconforming and noncompliant structures
- Multifamily development (no longer an allowable use on beachfront properties)
- Minimum lot size has doubled to 10,500 sq feet
- New seawall ordinance; permitting from the City
- Rules for private dune walkovers
Mapping The Baseline
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control – Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (SCDHEC – OCRM) has released a new web application for beachfront jurisdictions and hazards. The Beachfront Jurisdiction application depicts the location of state jurisdictional lines (baseline and setback), coastal survey monuments, adopted erosion rates, survey packets, and beach zones. The data may be queried by municipality, property address or parcel number. Additionally, the application provides a set of measurement tools to estimate area, distance and coordinates. The release of this application significantly enhances access to this information by current and prospective property owners, contractors, surveyors and realtors. The Beachfront Jurisdiction application is available online: http://gis.dhec.sc.gov/shoreline. Building on its successful effort to provide information to coastal stakeholders, DHEC is developing the Nearshore Alterations web application to depict the linear extent of beach renourishment projects, associated sand borrow areas and the location of groins. In addition to the spatial representation of these activities, DHEC will provide attribute data for each renourishment project, including regulatory permit identification numbers, sand volumes (yrd³), financial cost and cost-share ratios. For questions, contact Jessica Boynton, Shoreline Specialist at 843-953-2033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.