Beach erosion a concern as Hermine approaches

Beach erosion a concern as Hermine approaches

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Once Hurricane Hermine reaches the Grand Strand, it could leave beach erosion in its wake.

"It's out of our hands," Pawleys Island Town Administrator Ryan Fabbri said. "Mother Nature is going to do what Mother Nature wants to do."

Pawleys Island funded its own beach repairs for less than $140,000 in March after the storm last October took 100,000 cubic yards of sand from the beach.

No sand was added during those repairs, but instead, sand was moved from the low tide line to the dunes, a process called beach scraping.

"The reason that we did that was for this exact situation," Fabbri said.

Fabbri added the fortified dunes will help protect the houses, with Hermine on its way.

"It's going to do its job. That's why we put it there," he said. "We knew it was at some point going to wash away and we're aware of that and that's what's going to happen."

Fabbri said he is not sure how severe the erosion from Hermine will be, but he expects the sand that was pushed up during the beach scraping could disappear again..

"To what degree I don't know, but I'm expecting it'll be something similar to what we saw in October," Fabbri said. "Maybe not that bad because that was in line with a king tide event. This isn't going to be a king tide. It's going to be a high tide, but not as high as it was last year."

The town has a committee of 10 property owners looking into permanent solutions. That committee will recommend what exactly the town should do with $5 million in accommodations tax that is dedicated to maintaining the beaches.

Fabbri said that $5 million is a portion of what a full renourishment could cost.

"Build up a healthy beach and then maintain and monitor it over time and just make sure we keep a healthy beach," he said.

He added the town is also working to secure some of the $30 million in state funding for beach renourishment.

People in Garden City and Surfside Beach will see the results of a federal renourishment by next summer.

Horry County Public Information Officer Lisa Bourcier said the Army Corps of Engineers will be bringing in up to one million cubic yards of sand from federal waters to renourish the beaches as part of the Myrtle Beach Federal Shore Protection Project.

Bourcier said the project will go out for bid this fall and a contract will be awarded by the end of the year.

North Myrtle Beach's Cherry Grove section experienced severe erosion last October, but North Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer Pat Dowling said the Army Corps of Engineers chose Garden City and Surfside Beach over North Myrtle Beach for emergency renourishment funds that Rep. Tom Rice helped secure.

He said the next scheduled federal renourishment for everyone is 2018 and North Myrtle Beach is in line for that.

Dowling said Hermine will add to the city's erosion problems.

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