In the United States thirty of the fifty States are coastal states. One of the states South Carolina has 187 miles of coastal shoreline that attracts 28 million visitors a year that supports a 14 billion dollar tourism industry (2).
Unfortunately, the South Carolina shoreline is falling victim to beach erosion (80 percent of the shorelines in the United States are disappearing due to beach erosion) (1). The possible causes of beach erosion include natural disasters like hurricanes, and major storms like northeasters, coastal development, and rising sea levels.
An alternative method of beach restoration is beach nourishment. Beach nourishment is a controversial solution because it is a very expensive and temporary solution to erosion. Beach nourishment is the process where new sand, from an outside source normally the ocean is placed on a dry sand beach. It is the most common “soft” procedure for replacing sand. Beach nourishment is a temporary process because the causes that created the erosion problem remain and continue to remove the nourishment sand. Depending on the size of the project it may last for five to ten years (1).
An example of beach nourishment that involved the re-establishment of a golf course occurred on the Isle of the Palms, South Carolina where Wild Dunes Resort is located. In the late 1990’s the beach along Wild Dunes began to erode and the erosion process accelerated to the point where thousands of sandbags where protecting personal property and structures. The Par 5 18th hole at Wild Dunes (the links course) that ran along the beach had fallen into the ocean and had become a Par-3.
The pictures shown in this article where taken in August of 2011. The pictures are of the Isle of Palm restored beach area, 18th hole at the Links Course and installed fencing. The videos show the progress and process of sand nourishment at Wild Dunes.
The project by all accounts was a success. Given the temporary nature of sand nourishment, it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.
1. Free, K. South Carolina reponds to beach erosion: Is beach nourishment the last line of defense against an armored coastline? http://www.law.sc.edu/environmental/papers/200511/elsc/free.pdf
2. South Carolina Dept of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (http://www.discoversouthcarolina.com/scfaxts/fatfacts.asp)