SC - Army Corps Project will Benefit Barrier Island Beaches
Work is expected to begin in January on a $10 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project that will bring much-needed sand to the beaches at both the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island.
At a Nov. 13 public meeting held at the IOP Exchange Club, Corps Project Manager Jacob Kyzar said the contractor, to be chosen by the end of December, will determine which barrier island will be the first to receive sand. Around 500,000 cubic yards will be transported through a pipeline from the Intracoastal Waterway to IOP, while Sullivan’s Island’s beach will be fortified with 175,000 cubic yards. Kyzar explained that a cubic yard of sand is about the size of a washing machine.
The sand has been dredged from the Intracoastal over the past 10 to 15 years, Kyzar said, and stored in areas along the Waterway.
Neither island will pay for the sand, but both will be responsible for moving it after it is placed between the high tide and low tide lines. IOP City Manager Desiree Fragoso said she didn’t know what IOP’s part of the project would cost, but she pointed out that at least part of it could be paid for through a grant from South Carolina Parks and Recreation. The city also can draw from its Beach Renourishment Fund, which is fueled by a 1% tax on short-term rental properties.
Kyzar said the Corps’ portion of the project would be a 24/7 operation and would be completed on both islands sometime between January and June. He noted that the beach would remain open except in the contractor’s immediate work area. IOP’s part of the project, which will begin a month or more after the Corps starts transporting sand, will take four to six weeks, according to Steven Traynum, president of Coastal Science & Engineering, which has provided consulting services to the city since 2007.
City Attorney Mac McQuillin, part of a panel that included Kyzar, Traynum, Fragoso and Deputy Administrator Douglas Kerr, told the approximately 60 people in attendance that the city’s part of the project would require temporary, two-year easements from the owners of property where sand will be placed – between 2nd Avenue and 10th Avenue.
“Permanent easements would be better. In case there is an emergency situation, the town could go right to work,” he said, noting that no easements will be necessary for the Corps of Engineers project.
He added that the easements won’t decrease the value of the beachfront properties, pointing out that “it will probably increase because of the erosion protection.”
“If I owned a house, I’d want that easement to be as close to my house as possible,” Traynum added.
The city of IOP has been paying Collins Construction to scrape sand and install sandbags since October to protect properties threatened by severe beach erosion from 120 to 206 Ocean Blvd. In addition, on Oct. 10, the IOP City Council passed an emergency ordinance that allowed property owners between 100 and 914 Ocean Blvd. to circumvent a city law and install 1-cubic-foot sandbags at their own expense.