Erosion a constant battle along Lowcountry coast - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Erosion a constant battle along Lowcountry coast

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FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) – Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Northeastern United States last October, bringing with it a large storm surge.

Twenty-four states saw some impact from the storm, but New York and New Jersey suffered the most damage – damage that totaled $65 billion. And 286 people in seven countries died as the storm tracked through the Caribbean towards its final landfall in the U.S.

The Lowcountry's last major hurricane was more than 20 years ago, but Sandy was a stark reminder that everything can change in a matter of hours.

Storms like Sandy can have incredible impacts on shore – not just to property, but to the structure of the actual coastline. Erosion is a topic that people on Folly Beach know all too well.

Hurricane Irene took a large chunk of the coastline there in 2011. Since then, officials with the county parks system have been working to reopen Folly Beach County Park, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm.

"We experienced a lot of erosion out at Folly Beach County Park, so much in fact that the high surf actually breached the dunes out at Folly Beach County Park," said Sarah Reynolds, the publicity coordinator for the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission. "Folly Beach County Park is bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and on the other by the Folly River, and essentially the waves from the ocean washed completely over the island out there. So it basically washed pretty much all the sand away at the park."

The park has been renourished – it reopened this month – and improved with a groin designed to keep the sand from eroding again. Reynolds says the public is happy to have the park open again.

"The reason it was so important to us to get Folly Beach County Park back open to the public was not only for beach access for people to come out there, but to open another property that allows for public life-guarded space," she said.

But the look of the beach will continue to change.

"They pumped 415,000 cubic yards of sand and almost, in a sense, overloaded the park, expecting some of the sand to wash away eventually, so there's plenty of room if we do have another storm event," Reynolds said. "And we do have some high surf out there, so some of the sand can wash away and we'll still be good."

Reynolds also says the revitalized beach in perfect for turtle nesting.

  • Dave Williams

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