U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveying Folly Beach storm damage

Updated: Sep. 15, 2017 at 7:19 PM EDT
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District surveyed Folly Beach for a post-Irma survey.
Many coastal communities, including Folly Beach, are still cleaning up storm damage after impacts from Hurricane Irma.
“The main thing I’ve seen post-Irma is that most of the last beach re-nourishment is gone, the protection for the beachfront property and the ones behind it,” Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said,
Four people with Charleston Corps were on site Friday to find out how much the sand has changed. They use high-tech equipment for the most accurate results.
“Find out how much has been eroded, washed away or moved around,” Goodwin explained.
“The team has been out here since 9 a.m. They’ve done a few passes up and down the beach to gather their data,” Charleston Corps Commander Jeff Palazzini said. “We use very sophisticated equipment to collect data to see changes in the sand. GPS and LIDAR lasers measure a clear picture of the beach. We compare it to other data to see how much sand was lost.”
They also use RAMBLR's, Rapid Assessment Mobile LIDAR rovers. The Charleston Corps has been using RAMBLR’s on Folly Beach since 2012. This machine makes a 3D model of the beach.
“It’s an elevation model from the shoreline with the water to behind the dunes," Charleston Corps Chief of Survey Matt Foss said,
It’s one of the most efficient and effective pieces of equipment that we have, Palazzini said. "We can get out here, rapidly respond to a storm, and quickly get the data back to our engineers and scientists so they can quantify the damage.”
This is one of our federal projects on Folly Beach," Palazzini went on to explain. "We have specific authority to be out here to protect Folly infrastructure and the people on the other side of these dunes.”
The surveying may be complete but the process is far from finished.
“No preliminary results yet," Palazzini said. "It has to get back to our engineers and scientists to analyze the data.”
The results will be used for federal funding requests. There is no set timeframe for the data to be released, but Palazzini says it is a top priority.
The Charleston District recently received about $10 million from Hurricane Matthew damage. Palazzini says that money will go towards dredging the Folly River and putting the dredge material on Folly Beach, as part of a re-nourishment project.