Beach Replenishment
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

By Henry H. Mitchell

Beach Replenishment in Myrtle Beach

Beach replenishment conduits lie stacked beside Midway Swash, awaiting their next assignment.


Beach Replenishment in Myrtle Beach

The newly-raised sand plateau, after beach replenishment, can be seen in the background in front of Damon's Restaurant and the Crown Reef Resort. Note that Midway Swash has been pushed south (toward the camera) by the settling/spreading sand in the background. Replenishment has not occurred immediately on the near (south) side of Midway Swash.

2008 was a year of beach replenishment (or “renourishment”) on South Carolina's Grand Strand, a project last seen in 1998. The activity is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Early in the year dredges pumped mountains of sand ashore at Surfside Beach, and as the year has passed, the dredges, pipes, and piles of “new” sand have moved northward.

The beaches have turned grayer with the arrival of the sand from offshore. Collectors, including our family, have welcomed the fresh supplies of often-mineralized/fossilized seashells and sharks' teeth that have accompanied the slurry of sand. Regarding seashells, the replenishment has been especially generous in supplying Lettered Olives, Calico Scallops, Knobbed Whelks, Lightning Whelks, and Southern Quahogs.

The new sand rises almost to the top of the natural dunes. The hope is that the raised shore will provide protection against erosion and storms, and at the same time provide a wider playground for shore visitors.

The City of Myrtle Beach's portion of the Grand Strand renourishment project involved the bringing onshore of over one million cubic yards of sand. It is estimated that less than 6 inches of sand is eroded from the local beaches annually; that loss necessitates renourishment every eight to ten years. This year the City of Myrtle Beach paid $2.3 million toward the sand-moving, a 17.5% share of the cost of work done on the city's beaches. The rest of the tab was picked up by state and federal taxpayers.1



Note

  1. “Beach Renourishment Complete,” Progress Report, City of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Spring 2009, p. 4.

This guide to Myrtle Beach is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.