South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Good Compromise on Hunting Island
Posted: May 11, 2018

We represented the Coastal Conservation League in reaching an agreement with the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (SCPRT) to amend the Hunting Island State Park Permit for beach renourishment.

Hunting Island is South Carolina’s most popular state park, attracting more than 1 million visitors annually. The 5,000-acre park stretches across five miles of beach and encompasses marsh and maritime forests. It is home to a vast array of land and marine wildlife.

The settlement immediately reduces the number of groins from four to one, and allows SCPRT to build one more groin if needed. The settlement also prohibits beach renourishment and groin construction during sea turtle nesting season. This is a significant compromise that protects the public’s use of and access to Hunting Island, the undeveloped shoreline and endangered wildlife.

In March, we filed for DHEC Board review of the permit P/N #2015-01701-1IG-REVISED to SCPRT, citing environmental concerns. Specifically, we objected to the four groins, the timing of the activity and its impact on wildlife, and the monitoring schedule. This agreement allows the project to move forward with modifications.

SCELP represented the Conservation League to reach this agreement, which prioritizes public use, access and land over hardened structures. Hunting Island is a state park operated by SCPRT, and a compromise between these parties was necessary to protect public interest.

We cannot justify the additional installation of groins with every storm. Instead, we must take stock of what residents and visitors love about Hunting Island—access to a natural coastline. Groins previously constructed on Hunting Island have caused increased erosion immediately downdrift of those structure, and we cannot afford – economically or environmentally – to continue hardening the public beach with these structures.

Download available Hunting Island Settlement_May 2018

Hurricane Matthew Hit Hard