Local beaches need federal aid for restoration after floods

Local beaches need federal aid for restoration after floods

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Folly Beach and Isle of Palms officials are trying to get their beaches back in the condition they were in before the unusually high tides and flooding back in October.

"About half of the sand that was out there was removed by the storm, and now of course we've had severe weather, increased flooding and all this rain so the beaches are just taking a pounding," says Beach Management Consultant for the City of Folly Beach, Nicole Elko.

Since the flooding last month beaches are experiencing more erosion especially on days with higher than normal tides.

"Erosion here is more chronic or severe than in other locations so that's what makes Folly eligible for this higher level of federal funding than most of the beaches have," says Elko.

The federal funding Folly Beach receives comes from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Elko says, The Corp restores the sand on the beach about every 6 to 8 years, but most of the sand they put down just 18 months ago is gone. That's why the City of Folly has applied for more.

Ched Wiggins, a weekly beach goer sees the difference.

"You can tell there's been a little bit of erosion because the high water mark is coming all the way up to the rock wall right here so that's what I've noticed as far as the storm erosion," says Wiggins.

In contrast, Isle of Palms has applied for FEMA aid because they don't qualify for the type of funding Folly Beach does. Elko says, Folly is now down to a quarter of the sand that was placed on the beach by The Corp a year and a half ago.

"The recent wave energy has gotten it down, undeniable, to even less," says Elko. "So the city is not protected to the extent that they need to be going forward for the next 6 years."

If the aid is not granted it could impact beach goers and the South Carolina economy in the long run.

"The federal project is to provide storm protection so if a big hurricane were to come through it would protect the roads and facilities that tourists use to come here," says Elko. "So then by definition another benefit of the project is that recreational benefit, a wide beach for tourists to enjoy and some place for folks to come and recreate," says Elko.

As of now, the Isle of Palms and Folly Beach are still in the phase of showing proof of their need for a federal funds.

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