Southeastern Section - 60th Annual Meeting (23–25 March 2011)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


KAUFMAN, Charlie C., Emergency Management Department, Dorchester County, SC, 212 Deming Way #3, Summerville, SC 29483, LEVINE, Norman, Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424 and SUTLEY, Lauton, Masters of Environmental Studies, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424,

South Carolina Beaches are the one of the major draws to the tourist based economy of the Lowcountry region. Public access to the beaches of the state is mandated in both county and state level regulation. Beach access is often in direct opposition to many conservation issues facing regulators today. Barrier islands and their associated dune systems are integral parts of the natural environment, providing essential ecosystems services including the formation of habitat for myriad species, buffering inland areas from storm surges and wind. Dunes and beaches are often damaged due to the simple act of people visiting the beach. Human disturbance while unavoidable can be lessened with proper planning and management, which includes the placement of adequate beach accesses locations. This project looks at the quality of public beach access locations, dune health, and the status of the beachfront on the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, and Folly Island in Charleston County, South Carolina.

A series of indices were developed to assess public accesses, health of dunes, and the status of the beach. These indices used a variety of information developed from scientific literature, governmental and non-governmental resources. Indices were summed for each beach access and an overall status score was given to each access. Integrating the data gathered from the indices, each island’s beach access location was mapped within GIS to show the beach access’s amenities, dune health, and beach status. The indices were developed to be transportable to other barrier island beach systems and can serve as a template for assessment along the south eastern shore.