Storm Damage Reduction Project
In 2001, the Town began working with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to develop the Town's Hurricane and Storm Damage and Reduction Project which received Congressional approval in 2014. Even though the project was authorized, it did not receive obligated funds ($22.2 M) until appropriated in 2018. This project was designed to reduced storm damages and also provide a more secure funding source. The cost share is 65% fed/35% local on the initial construction and 50%/50% on subsequent nourishments. The cost share for storm damage is 100% federal.
This project consists of 16,530 feet long, 15 feet high, 15 feet wide vegetated dune along Atlantic Reaches. It also includes 16,530 feet berm built at the existing berm height (7ft). The berm would start at the Atlantic Reach South (15 ft high dune), and would gradually taper over 1,900 feet into a 50 feet wide berm that would extend 6,330 feet along the Atlantic Reaches. The berm would widen over another 560 feet into a 75 ft wide berm that would extend 7,740 feet to Groin 1.
The initial project included the inlet reach and the Town has asked this be removed. The groin portion of the project as initially proposed was completed by the Town in 2017.
Iris Hill, Project Manager
United States Army Corps of Engineers, Chrissa Waite
US Army Corps of Engineers Beachfront Management Committee June 23, 2021 Minutes excerpt
Administrator Hill informed the committee that the Town had asked the USACE for a one-year extension before committing to the project. She informed everyone that USACE did not approve the extension and requested an answer by July 16, 2021. Ms. Hill proposed two potential funding options, which includes issuing a referendum or requesting the Town Council commit to the funding. Chairman Lovelace suggested the elected officials make the final decision and not the public when it came to funding the beach renourishment. Administrator Hill discussed impacts of a referendum verses Town Council voting on the funding. Matthew Kizer voiced concerns about the USACE project and access and reconfirmed he felt that the State and County should fund beach nourishment. Bill Davies mentioned that he thought preserving the beachfront was the most important part of preserving the community and that funding from the US Army Corps of Engineers for this project was the best way to go. Paul Oakley and Dallas Lovelace agreed with this decision. Paul Oakley moved to request that Town Council sign the agreement with US Army Corps of Engineers to advance the beach renourishment project without a referendum, seconded by Bill Davies. Bob Ringer mentioned that the beachfront may need to be nourished before 2027 and Ms. Hill mentioned the upcoming hurricane season possibly being an issue. Paul Oakley stated that the US Army Corps of Engineers was a long term engineered solution for the Town. David Blauch stated that most of the beachfront homeowners are worried about visitors trespassing across private property because of the erosion. After discussion, Chairman Lovelace asked that a separate document be drafted to explain the right of way issues to the public. After discussion, the motioned that was seconded was approved by a 6-1 vote. Matthew Kizer was opposed.
The modified project removes Inlet Reach 1 and Inlet Reach 2.
The revised project consists of the following elements: 1) A 15-foot high (elevation), 15-foot wide dune beginning at the northern end of the project (i.e., Reach E15 – the southern end of Edisto Beach State Park) and extending southward along the beach for 16,530 feet. This dune would be fronted by a 7-foot high (elevation) berm. The first 7,740 feet of berm length would have a width of 75 feet. The width would taper to a 50-foot width over the remaining length of the berm. The width of each end of the berm would taper to match the existing beach profile; 2) Beginning at Reach I4, the dune would transition to a 14-foot high, 15-foot wide dune that extends around the end of the island for 1,046 feet, with appropriate tapers. No berm would be constructed in front of this dune because the existing beach profile provides an adequate berm
The Beachfront Management Committee comprised of residents of the Town voted to support continued negotiations with the USACE on October 19, 2020.
After discussions with the USACE and legislators Council rescinded the previous action withdrawing from the project as long as negotiations proceed. The USACE indicated the easement language regarding the word perpetual could be revised which was one of the major concerns from the beachfront owners who commented on the draft easement. They would not remove public use language. The Town has been working with legislators regarding obtaining in-kind credit for the previous beach nourishment project.