2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


LEVINE, Norman, KATUNA, Michael, KAUFMAN, Charles C. and COLGAN, Mitchell, Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424, levinen@cofc.edu

Folly Island, (South Carolina), is a tourist destination, an important economic resource, and a rapidly eroding barrier island. Folly Island's long history of development and stabilization qualify it as one of America's most vulnerable beaches. This year (2007), with continued active nourishment projects, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) named Folly Beach of South Carolina one of America's Top Restored Beaches. The Top Restored Beaches were chosen based upon three criteria: the economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community; the short and long-term success of the nourishment project; and the challenges each community overcame during the course of the project.

Folly beach has undergone shoreline erosion since the completion of the Charleston Harbor Jetties, in the late 1890s disrupted the southerly longshore transport of sand to Folly and Morris Islands. Today, hard stabilization structures (e.g., seawalls, groin fields) protect property located along Folly's beach from shoreline erosion of at least 1 to 3 feet per year. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo's storm surge and winds damaged most of Folly Island's beachfront home. For years later, to restore the Folly's recreational beach and to protect beachfront property, a $ 15.3 million federally funded renourishment project placement of 2.5 million cubic yards of sand along a 5.3-mile stretch of shoreline. In 2006, a renourishment project was needed to restore the recreational beach after 12 years of beach erosion. Within one year, storm generated erosion resulted in another renourishment project. Additionally, sand is periodically pumped on to the beach along the southern end of the Island. Recent aerial photographic and statistical analysis of Folly Island shows that over the past 65 years, Folly Island has lost over 13 acres of beachfront. In the past 14 years, three beach renourishment projects have mitigated the amount of sand lost.