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On the northern end of Folly Beach, approx. 3 miles out, a dredging ship is pumping a combo of sand & water onto Folly Beach according to Count on 2 News (May 17, 2007). Workers on shore are using bulldozers & equipment to “renourish” the beach. The project is expected to be complete in about 45 days & will add approx. 150 ft of add’l beach on the beach north of the “Washout.”

According to the news story by Chip Maxham, “The loss of beach in this area is not a new problem. In the 1890’s, The Army Corps of Engineers build jetties into Charleston Harbor. The jetties are stone canals that keep water moving through artificially narrow openings. When water moves into the narrow jetty, it moves faster so that the same amount of water flows through the channel. The effect of a jetty is like placing your thumb on the side of the water hose to increase the force of the stream. The faster moving water keeps its sediments in suspension, preventing them from settling to the bottom. The jetties keep the channel clear so that large ships can move into the harbor. If the jetties were not there, the harbor would have to be frequently dredged to remove the sediment that would collect.

However, there is a negative consequence to the presence of the jetties. The normal erosion and deposition of sand and sediments in the area are disturbed and changes to the coastline are inevitable. As a result of the jetties, Morris Island and Northern Folly Beach continue to wash away. Because beach erosion at Folly Beach can be traced back to the presence of these jetties, the Federal Government is responsible for 85% of the cost of renourishment while the local government picks up the remaining 15%.

The last time sand was added to Folly Beach was 2005. However, Hurricane Ophelia washed much of that sand away. Normally, a renourishment project should be good for about 7 years. Since the 2005 renourishment was removed by the storm, this project is considered an emergency repair, and the total cost will be absorbed by the Federal Government.”

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