• Renourishment – May/June 2013 Renourishment – May/June 2013 The Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission sponsored a full renourishment of the park, including construction of a terminal groin.
  • Beach Monitoring Beach Monitoring College of Charleston geology students and faculty conducted bimonthly beach elevation surveys since before the renourishment.
  • Migrating Sands Migrating Sands A year after the renourishment, sands appear to be migrating onto the shore.
  • Trapping the Sand Trapping the Sand Sand fences trap wind-blown (eolian) sand, helping to begin the process of dune development.
  • Pre-Nourishment Beach Pre-Nourishment Beach on the southwest end of the island, virtually no sand existed prior to renourishment, and the “beach” was old marsh.
  • Terminal Groin Terminal Groin A 700 ft long concrete, rock, and steel groin with a small tower to mark the end helps to hold the renourished sand (at left) in place.
  • Historic Changes Historic Changes Google Earth images since 1989 provide an excellent look at the beach’s changes.
  • Reopening of the Park Reopening of the Park The park is again open for enjoyment by the public.


Studying Shoreline Changes After the 2013 Beach Renourishment Project

Severe erosion at Folly Beach County Park has occurred for the past two decades. Insufficient sand available to naturally replenish the beach following storm-related erosion caused major shoreline retreat and loss of several sand dunes (image at right and below).  Most of the park’s facilities and parking lots were destroyed or were removed due to the encroaching sea.
(Images courtesy of Charleston County Parks and Recreation,  http://ccprc.com/gallery.aspx?PID=836)


The College of Charleston Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences conducted a variety of studies to assess and measure changes to the beach before and after a large May/June 2013 renourishment project funded by the Charelston Country Parks and Recreation Commission (CCPRC). During the first year of the study (June 2013 - June 2014), faculty and undergraduate students began to monitor changes to the beach, conducting beach elevation surveys and photographic surveys. In addition to the research, educational opportunities and online resources are being developed, several of which are currently being implemented.

The May 2013 image, at right, was taken from approximately the
same place as the image above, just prior to beach renourishment.
Note that all the dunes, vegetation and buildings are gone.
The palmetto trees in the 2013 scene are not visible in the
older image, as the buildings and closer trees blocked the view.
(Image by CofC Geology)

Shoreline Monitoring

Several technologies have been used for quantitatively measuring shoreline changes. Aerial photographs, beach photos and Google Earth historic images were also employed, in order to assess the dramatic erosion that has occurred since the late 1980s. We invite you to follow along with our study, and to learn about the coastal processes that influence and control the county park's shoreline.

CCPRC 2013 Renourishment Project Overview & Technical Overview

The dynamic and erosional nature of Folly Beach County Park was accelerated in August 2011, when Hurricane Irene passed off the South Carolina coast. Folly Beach County Park not only serves approximately 100,000 patrons per year, but also facilitates sea turtle nesting and provides shorebird habitat. Due to Hurricane Irene's erosional effects on the shoreline, restoration was a priority in order to reopen the park. The restoration included but was not limited to the construction of a terminal groin, the pumping of sand to stabilize the beach, and the construction of fences to stabilize and promote dune growth. Due to the restoration efforts, Folly Beach County Park was reopened on July 3, 2013, and continues to thrive. To learn more, please visit the Project Overview page.

Planning for the renourishment of Folly Beach County Park in the summer of 2013 included both the construction of a terminal groin as well as the addition of ~415,000 cubic yards (cy) of sand collected from Folly River. To accomplish the scope of this project, numerous companies as well as volunteers were utilized. The renourishment was carefully constructed with not only the loss of sediment in mind, but the potential impacts the erosional shoreline had on the biological and evironmental habitats surrounding the area. Once funding of the project was approved, nourishment commenced on May 5th, 2013, with the addition of sand and installation of the terminal groin. By May 2014, the dune restoration project was held in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in which 23,000 dune plants were donated. To learn more, please visit the Technical Overview page.