122117 Beaches: Study says proposed groins will slow erosion
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The portion of DeBordieu’s beach where groins are proposed.

Beaches: Study says proposed groins will slow erosion

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The beach at Hobcaw Barony will continue to erode regardless of whether the property owners at DeBordieu conduct a renourishment project. But the rate of erosion will be reduced by a plan to install three groins on the beach as part of that project, according to a study submitted to state and federal agencies.

DeBordieu is seeking permits to install the groins as part of a project that will put up to 650,000 cubic yards of sand on its beach. It also proposed groins in a 2011 permit request, but dropped them because of opposing from the Baruch Foundation and the Coastal Conservation League.

The Baruch Foundation hired a coastal engineer to evaluate the study. He was due to make a recommendation and the board was due to discuss it this week, said George Chastain, the foundation director. The Coastal Conservation League was also preparing its response this week, said Erin Hardwick Pate, director of the league’s office in Georgetown.

A study prepared for DeBordieu by Coastal Science and Engineering says the long-term erosion rate at Hobcaw will be slowed by the addition of sand, but the renourishment is “unsustainable” without the groins to hold sand at the southern end of the community. Before DeBordieu began beach nourishment projects in the 1990s, the Hobcaw beach was losing an acre of land a year. It is now losing a quarter acre, the study says.

Groins trap sand in currents that run parallel to the shore. Tim Kana, the principal at Coastal Science, said recent groin projects have shown they trap less sand than originally thought. “Even the Coastal Conservation League admits death and destruction down-drift didn’t happen,” he said.

Today is the deadline for comments on the project. A Corps of Engineers spokesman said comments so far had come from residents and other agencies.

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