Beach Renourishment FAQs

Beach nourishment is the process of dredging and placement of large amounts of sand from offshore our upland sand sources to widen the existing beach. Sources of sand may include a nearby sandbar, a dredged source such as an inlet or waterway, an offshore borrow site along the ocean floor, or an upland source such as a mine or borrow pit. The sand is placed according to an engineered plan with specific criteria for storm protection. The widened shoreline provides increased defense from coastal storms and beach erosion protecting communities, infrastructure, and property located along the shoreline. While increased protection is the primary purpose of the project, the additional beach area will benefit tourism, as well as wildlife.

Some areas along Pawleys Island will not be impacted by the renourishment project. However, if you are staying in or accessing beaches in Pawleys Island anywhere south of the 3rd Street public beach access between the months of October 2019 and February 2020*, you may be affected. Detailed sand pumping location information will be available on the progress map, located on our website. Depending upon the location of the operations, you may experience some temporary construction noise, night illumination, and beach access diversions. Please be patient with our much-needed project – beach nourishment is vital to our town’s future.

*This schedule is preliminary and may change based on weather delays.

Fall is an ideal time to perform beach nourishment in the southeast. While weather and sea conditions are relatively mild, turtle nesting season has concluded and birds and other mobile organisms are less prevalent. Decreased tourism during this time of the year also minimizes impacts to rental properties and visitors.

About 1,000 feet of the beach will be directly impacted during construction at any one time and a portion of this area may be closed. Construction is anticipated to impact individual properties between 3-6 days. Once a section is pumped into place it should be re-opened for use within 24-48 hours. Sand ramps will be placed over a temporary pipeline at major public accesses allowing people to get across and enjoy the beach seaward of the pipeline. There will be a very wide beach after nourishment, giving people large areas seaward of the pipeline to enjoy. The newly built beach may also be a bit darker than the old beach, but it will quickly bleach out from the sun.

Yes! If construction limits access directly in front of your property, you may need to enter the beach at an alternate beach access. Beachgoers may park and access the beach through Shell Road, 3rd Street, 2nd Street, Pearce Street, and 1st Street. We will attempt to reopen the parking lot at the south end as soon as possible.

The Pawleys Island renourishment project will use sand from a borrow area 2–3 miles south of the island. The sand will be dredged from water approximately 20 feet deep beyond the active beach zone.

Initially, the sand pumped onto the beach may appear to be a darker color. Once exposed to the elements, this disappears quickly and the material will match the existing sand.

The contractor will work 24/7 (including holidays) until the project is complete, depending on weather conditions.

When construction operations are underway back up alarms from bulldozers and trucks will occur (as required by federal law). Lights will also be used on the beach throughout the night and may be visible from homes.

In the construction area, bulldozers and loaders will be the primary types of equipment used. The active construction area may also contain a mobile construction office (skid-mounted), light plants and welding equipment. Weather permitting, construction typically occurs 24/7 (including holidays). Dozers and loaders are equipped with back up alarms and lights.

The project is primarily funded by the Beach Fund (a 3% Local Accommodations Tax adopted in 1999) totaling 6 million dollars, a state-funded grant from the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism totaling $5.6 million, and a $2.8 million loan through BB&T.

Benthic organisms (organisms that live in on or near the seabed) in the surf zone generally have short life cycles and recover rapidly after beach nourishment (or severe storms). Typical recovery rates are measured in months according to numerous studies.

Yes. Dunes will be constructed or reinforced based on the pre-project condition. The dunes will be approximately 15 feet wide and about 6 feet high.

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