Cherry Grove erosion leads to greater risk of flooding

Cherry Grove erosion leads to greater risk of flooding

CHERRY GROVE, SC (WMBF) - Coastal flooding is a major concern as storms roll through the area this weekend and Cherry Grove's beach erosion has left its coast even less protected.

"Every morning we come out here and just see little pieces chopping off a little bit at a time," said Matt Potts, of the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier. "You look at pictures from April and you look at pictures now and you see a significant difference."

Potts said several feet of beach and dunes have disappeared in the past few months.

"Maybe the city needs to look into having a nourishment every three to five years or some smaller steps," he said.

North Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Pat Dowling said the erosion Tropical Storm Ana and smaller storms left in their wake has made Cherry Grove's beaches and dunes more vulnerable to coastal flooding during high tide, which is a concern as Hurricane Joaquin passes by off the coast, sending in storm surges and large waves.

However, there is no emergency nourishment funding available federally or from the Army Corps of Engineers to help fix the issue because Ana was only a tropical storm. Dowling said the law requires a storm to be classified as at least a category one hurricane for those funds to be made available.

The last renourishment was 2008-2009. They're scheduled every 10 years, so if there is federal funding available in 2018, that's when Cherry Grove would get more sand.

Dowling said the city has exhausted all of its resources right now although it will keep trying.

"Johnny and Suzie want to come out on the beach and play," Potts said. "'Mom, we don't have a beach,' so they're staying in the swimming pool. What's the point of going to the beach if you aren't able to use the beach?"

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