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.
In December of 2018, the City, the US Army Corps, and the State of South Carolina wrapped up a beach renourishment and groin rehabilitation project on Folly Beach. For more information on this project, SEE HERE.
The City is moving forward with planning the next phase of groin rehabilitation. The last phase, completed along with the 2018 renourishment, has been a great success. The current projection is for phase 2 to occur along with the 2024 renourishment. The Master Plan is here: LINK TO PLAN
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. City Code 151.51 requires property owners to maintain their lots with 8′ elevation above sea level in the area immediately behind the public beach. The City has also set aside money for sand placement beyond the federal project on public property (primarily Nature Conservancy lots) behind the federal project. 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 SCDHEC-OCRM at 843-953-0200.