Mother Nature has bestowed some of her finest work along the pristine shores of Hilton Head Island. Our beautiful white sand beaches are treasured, nurtured and photographed by generations of islanders and visitors alike, but we must also protect our shores. Beach sand here moves from the center of the island toward its end, dictated by Port Royal Sound to the north and Calibogue Sound to the south. Hilton Head Island is a “transgressive” relic coastal barrier and this type beach erosion---the massive and continual movement of sand---is a naturally-occurring phenomenon.
As part of the Town of Hilton Head’s long-term strategy for restoring and maintaining our beaches, beach renourishment is necessary every seven to ten years, depending on weather conditions and storms passing through the area. Funded primarily by tourism via the local 2% Beach Preservation Fee, beach renourishment ensures a protected and sustained natural environment for all who partake in its splendor including endangered sea turtles and sea birds who make their homes or nests along the beach. Beach widening provides extended storm protection for ocean front properties and businesses while also maintaining a recreational berm for beach activities such as riding bikes, relaxing under a sun umbrella, volleying ball or splashing in the surf. The Town’s original project took place in 1990, with subsequent replenishments taking place in 1997 and 2006.
The process entails a sand search---engineers locate a grade of sand that is the same size, color and texture as the existing beach sand. A dredge excavates from two offshore borrow sites and new sand, a sandy-watery mix, is pumped through an extensive pipeline, and an elevation is constructed. The active site is a 1,000-foot section at any given point. About 1.1 million cubic yards of sand will be placed along the 5.3 mile-shoreline from just south of Coligny Circle to the Folly. Approximately 600,000 CY of sand will be placed along the Port Royal shoreline, and an estimated 360,000CY of sand will be placed along a 5000’ stretch at South Beach in Sea Pines. Construction will take place 24/7. Beach access at active site points will be temporarily closed and re-opened as the project continues to move.
Posted by Christina Galbreath-Gonzalez
According to the Town of Hilton Head Island, sand placement activities will commence June 15 along the Port Royal Sound Shoreline. The project will move from Port Royal south to South Beach, east of Tower Beach in Sea Pines in very late July. The central oceanfront segment will be constructed last, during September and October. For more information, see related links below.