Why is Beach Renourishment Important?
As mentioned in a 2018 blog post regarding beach renourishment, tourism supports the local economy in Horry and Georgetown Counties. Our beaches and access to our beaches are a big part of our economy. In addition to being a large tourist attraction, the beach dunes also protect valuable beach front assets and are home to many coastal plants and animals.
Who Decides to Renourish the Beach?
The Army Corps of Engineers control beach renourishment projects and timelines. Our area is served by the Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, and beaches are renourished every 6-8 years unless we have a major storm event during hurricane season. After major hurricanes, the Army Corps of Engineers personnel visit the area and assess the situation for erosion and create a plan of action. Erosion from Hurricane Florence in 2018 created the need for the current beach renourishment project.
Where and When?
This project started in North Myrtle Beach in May and moved to the south end of the beach (Garden City Beach and Surfside Beach) in June. During the renourishment project, small sections of the beach will be closed. However, ALL OTHER BEACHES remain opened. To keep up with where the work is happening, visit this interactive map provided by the Army Corp of Engineers. My understanding is that contractors are working 24/7 unless weather or mechanical issues cause a stop in work. They hope to have each closed section closed only for 2-3 days. You may see pipes outside of the closed sections. You can safely cross these pipes where “sand ramps” have been built.
Will My Vacation Be Impacted?
The short answer is “it is possible”. It is possible that during your stay, the beach directly in front of your rental home or condo may be effected by the renourishment work and closed. However, the crews are moving quickly and each section is planned to be closed only for 2-3 days. All other beaches will be open, so you can easily walk up or down the beach to another public beach access. Public beach access points in Horry County and Georgetown county as well as those in Surfside Beach are marked with signage. You can also find links to public beach access points at the following links…
What about the Sea Turtles?
One very neat thing about living in this area is keeping up with the sea turtles…new nests in the spring/summer and nest hatchings in the summer/fall. This beach renourishment project is occurring during the nesting time for sea turtles. Because sea turtles are endangered species, the contractor will have to follow the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammals Protection Act. Also, members of S.C.U.T.E. (South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts) have relocated some nests that were in the beach renourishment area to spots outside the renourishment project. S.C.U.T.E. volunteers also walk the beaches each morning looking for newly laid nests. To find out more about S.C.U.T.E. and follow the turtle nests in our area, follow the S.C.U.T.E. Facebook Page or the Garden City Surfside S.C.U.T.E. Group.
Below are some videos I took of the beach renourishment project in Garden City Beach.
I know the beach closures and the noise from the renourishment project can be a nuisance. Do remember that this slight inconvenience helps our community and your vacation spot out in the long run. Also, the renourishment projects pulls up all kinds of shells that you normally do not see and more shells than you normally see. Hit the beach and see what you can find!