FOLLY BEACH, SC (AP) Although some sand has washed away, officials said last year’s $12-million renourishment project that poured more than 2 million cu. yds. (1.5 million cu m) of sand along Folly Beach was a success.
“We’re ecstatic,” said Tom Hall, the city’s flood plain manager. “We’re a barrier island. We’re dynamic. If we hadn’t had the project in place when the storms hit this year, we’d have had trouble.”
Last summer, surfers deserted the area known locally as the “Washout” toward the eastern end of the island because the sand prevented bigger waves from breaking.
But now some of that sand has washed away and the surfers are back.
“The Washout washed it all out again,” said Kelly Cane of Ocean Surf Shop. “The zoo is still the zoo. There are still as many surfers as ever.”
In other places along the 5-mile project, the beach is as wide as a football field.
“Most of the sand got washed away all the way from the washout area to the Morris Island lighthouse,” said Ed Pattillo, resident. But he said the rest of the beach seems to be holding up.
“Right now I’m a little disturbed,” said Libby Smith, who lives on the beach front. “Renourishment is the first step. Then you need to do something to keep the sand there.”
Sand fences have been placed at the edge of the dune line, and in March, grass will be planted between the fences and dunes to help hold the sand, said Ted Hauser, the project manager of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Erosion on the east end of the island was caused by tropical storms that passed offshore shortly after the new sand was laid, he said.
The beach was renourished after the city issued a disaster declaration in 2004 after Hurricane Gaston and other storms battered the beach.
Folly Beach attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year.
“It was necessary because we had lost so much sand,” Pattillo said. “It’s going to make a lot of people happy this summer.”
There was another renourishment project along the beach in 1993. That project, expected to last only approximately eight years, lasted 12.
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