Grand Strand leaders travel to Washington D.C. to discuss beach renourishment program

Grand Strand leaders travel to Washington D.C. to discuss beach renourishment program
Left to Right: Steve Gosnell, Marilyn Hatley, Johnny Gardner, Jackie Hatley and Mike Mahaney. (Source: City of North Myrtle Beach)

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Leaders from Horry County, Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach headed to the nation’s capital on Thursday to discuss the future of the Grand Strand’s federal beach renourishment program.

Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner, Myrtle Beach councilwoman Jackie Hatley, North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley, Horry County Administrator Steve Gosnell and North Myrtle Beach City Manager Mike Mahaney met with Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Tim Scott and Congressman Tom Rice. They also met with officials at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Leaders requested a reevaluation of the Myrtle Beach Shore Protection Project, which is the Grand Strand’s continuing federal beach renourishment project.

The project covers three reaches:

  • Reach 1: North Myrtle Beach
  • Reach 2: Myrtle Beach
  • Reach 3: Surfside Beach/Garden City

The Myrtle Beach Shore Protection Project has suffered damage by several hurricanes over the years, the most recent being Dorian that brought a strong storm surge to the Grand Strand coastline.

Leaders went to Washington to reevaluate the needs of the project because original specifications may no longer be adequate to fix Grand Strand beaches. The Grand Strand Coastal Alliance has submitted letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, requesting more funding to conduct a revaluation report for the project.

The city of North Myrtle Beach says that if the request is granted the process would involve:

  1. Conducting an evaluation of the existing design of the project, including its dunes and berm, to determine if any components of the project’s design need to be modified to better provide resilience to the impact of waves on structures, infrastructure and life and safety. We asked that the evaluation be as broad as possible and that it includes all potential measures from hard structures, beach nourishment and environmental restoration that are allowed under law and can be justified under Corps policies.
  2. Reviewing erosive hot spots that occurred post-construction at one or more points of the 26 miles of the project’s shoreline to determine if the project design should be modified in any way.
  3. Evaluating the eligibility of the Arcadian Shores section of the project for inclusion of the authorized project either as a separate reach or attached to one or more of the existing reaches of the project due to the developments that have occurred in recent years.
  4. Reevaluating the appropriate berm height for the project given the concerns of sea-level rise and intensifying storms. Originally, the Corps recommended a 9-foot height but Horry County asked that the berms be constructed to a lower height in Reach 3 of the project. Given the increase in property at risk, the Alliance has asked that the reevaluation occur as part of the requested project reformulation or, if possible, in a more expeditious manner.
  5. Determining whether the remaining portion of the developed shoreline in Georgetown County up to Murrells Inlet can be included in the authorized project.

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