Southeast
Beach tourism - Tourists wander the beach in Garden City, SC (Nick Papantonis/WPDE).

SC - Here's why South Carolina beaches received 'C' grade due to 'mediocre policies': Report

SOUTH CAROLINA (WPDE) — For generations, families have visited South Carolina to enjoy its southern charm and historical coastal cities. But according to a new "State of the Beach" report, which grades how each state is maintaining its coastlines, South Carolina has earned a "C" grade, meaning their is some room for improvement.

State of the Beach Report 2022

The state, according to the report, is doing a "decent job" of coastal management and continues to implement strong policies mitigating beach nourishment and restricting coastal armoring.

The report also claims that "despite having good policies in place to manage sand and erosion, the state needs to limit all new development in flood zones and advance sea level rise planning work."

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Listed below is how the report detailed the Palmetto state's ranking, by section.

Beach grade according to the State of the Beach report for 2022. (Credit: SOTB Report)

Sediment Management: OK

South Carolina requires that coastal municipalities complete beach management plans. These plans include monitoring requirements and analysis of nourishment projects.

The state does an effective job of analyzing physical and ecological implications of beach nourishment, including protecting critical turtle habitat, spawning seasons and migratory movements of important marine species.

Coastal Armoring: OK

South Carolina has included living shorelines in its coastal management strategies for 20 years and has solid policies restricting armoring.

Regarding living shorelines, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued new regulations defining and setting performance standards for living shorelines to help support their effective implementation.

The state completely prohibits the use of new seawalls and mandates that coastal towns adopt a ‘40-year retreat policy’ in their local management plans. In addition, the state prohibits rebuilding or increasing previously built seawalls. Severely damaged seawalls must be removed at the owners’ expense. Unfortunately, groins are allowed, detailed the report.

Development: BAD

The state has good setback standards, which are 40 times the average annual erosion rate and no less than 20 feet from the top of the main sand dune at ocean coastlines.

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