South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

DHEC board denies challenge to groin project at DeBordieu beach
March 8th, 2019

By David Purtell, South Strand News

The board of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has denied a request for a final review of a permit allowing the construction of beach groins at DeBordieu Colony.

Two groups made the request after DHEC staff issued the permit in January. The Coastal Conservation League and owners of Hobcaw Barony argue the groins could exacerbate coastal erosion along the beach buffering the North Inlet immediately south of DeBordieu. The North Inlet is part of Hobcaw Barony, a 16,000 acre research reserve owned by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation.

The permit allows up to 650,000 cubic yards of sand to be placed on the beach as part of a renourishment project funded by the residents of DeBordieu Colony. The project includes the construction of three groins, each extending hundreds of feet into the ocean.

Beach groins are meant to trap sand updrift, but that can mean less sand moving downdrift in the long term, according to Erin Pate with the Coastal Conservation League.

In a statement, Blanche Brown, general manger of DeBordieu Colony, said DHEC's decision "affirms state law, which is to preserve and protect the state’s beaches and wildlife while acknowledging the rights of private property owners. It will also ensure Georgetown County a sustained and reliable tax base and improve the wildlife ecosystem."

Blanche previously said that, initially, the excess nourishment sand placed on the beach will reduce the natural rate of erosion at Hobcaw.

The South Carolina Environmental Law Project filed the request for review on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League. Amy Armstrong, with SCELP, said her organization will now ask the state's Administrative Law Court to hear their case.

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