Folly Beach officials talk erosion in DC meetings

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Waves of salt water continue to roll in, but the sand at Folly Beach continues to roll away.

"I think it's looking a bit worse as more sand is getting washed away," said Folly Beach resident Katherina Diemer.

In 2011, Hurricane Irene helped to speed up the erosion process at Folly Beach. Now, city officials are trying to save what is left by traveling to Washington D.C. to ask for more federal funds. The federal budget set aside $400,000 for the erosion study at the beach, but nothing for the re-nourishment.

City officials expect the entire re-nourishment project will cost $18 million, $15 million is needed from the federal government.

"I think we do need to try and save it, you have to understand beaches and sand shift but, we didn't cause this, this is cause by the Charleston jetties," said City councilman DJ Rich.

Rich said 60 percent of the Folly erosion issues are caused by the Charleston ports and the city is just asking for the money the government owes for up-keep.

The government is under a 50-year contract to re-nourish Folly Beach, but is not required to do so until 2013. Now, with current erosion issues, city officials believe it could cost the entire state if this tourism destination remains closed.

"It's really important to our who state too. We're a tourist destination with a million plus visitors every year and they come here for the beach, the come here for our businesses as well but they come here for the beach," Rich said.

Businesses near the beach expect this tourism season to be an interesting one.

"We depend on a lot of the tourism and folks visiting, that being one of the biggest public areas for people to park we do se it being a problem," said John Benton, Manager Rita's Seaside Grill.  

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