North Myrtle Beach seeking approval for more dune restoration

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of North Myrtle Beach is seeking approval from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management for additional dune restoration work.

The city is still completing phase one of dune restoration work that began at the end of 2017, but this permit is entirely different for the new locations.

Phase one is expected to be complete March 1 and those locations consist of 45th Avenue South to 48th Avenue South and from 42nd Avenue North to 55th Avenue North.

The second phase the city is restoring is between 41st Avenue South and 45th Avenue South, between 37th Avenue North and 42nd Avenue North, and between 61st Avenue North and 63rd Avenue North in North Myrtle Beach.

"I think it's good news, I think it should be perpetual. I think they should do something every year and money should be put aside each year and, you know, to save up for these events when they come and not wait until it gets here. It needs perpetual care," said Steve Gann, who has been with the Cherry Grove Pier for more than 15 years.

Pier employees have seen storm after storm come through, so they think storm surge protection and dune restoration work like what the city is doing right now should always be a top priority.

"We're the only remaining pier of the piers that were here prior to '89," Gann said.

The Cherry Grove Pier was the only one to rebuild after Hurricane Hugo came, so for Gann, history surrounds the area.

"Because you think without the care, people came to the beach long before golf courses, long before shows or long before Ferris wheels, you know they came for the beach," Gann said.

The pier lost 25 to 30 feet of dune line and a large portion of sand during Hurricane Matthew. Beach renourishment helped to repair the area.

"I think temporarily, as a stop-gap measure, I think this will do until the next storm event," Gann said. "It's always predicated on when the next storm comes, the next category one or two or the next storm surge."

The city of North Myrtle Beach is spending $215,000 for the additional locations. Phase one cost the city $616,000.

City spokesman Pat Dowling said the funding is part of the Cherry Grove dredging project's budget. The city is required to remove and deposit the material that was placed in the spoils basin during dredging, so the basin can be used again by someone else.

According to Dowling, the dune restoration project is the perfect way to use the remaining sand.

Crews are hauling the sand portion of that material back to the beach where it came from. Dowling said the mud in the spoils basin will be hauled off to an entirely different location to be disposed of.

Over time, high tide, wind and rain will reshape the 7-foot-high dunes to flatter, more natural looking dunes.

"But for what we have now is significantly better than what we had after the storm," Gann said. "I mean we have some protection now, limited as it may be. It's there."

City leaders said once it receives permit approval, phase two work will begin the last week of February and there is no date set yet on how long the work will last.

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