March 21, 2024

Daniel Shailer, Inside Climate News

South Carolina Court Weighs What Residents Call ‘Chaotic’ Coastal Adaptation Standards

The South Carolina Court of Appeals is weighing a request to stop the construction of three erosion control structures called groins on Debidue Beach, 60 miles north of Charleston, based on arguments that they could damage a critical estuarine reserve.

Environmental advocates were in court last week to argue that the groins—which were approved in 2019 by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)—will trap sand and “starve” North Inlet-Winyah Bay, a national reserve located five miles from the planned construction, and limit access to a public trust.

Debidue residents argued that they have spent tens of millions of dollars over the past decades to replace the beach’s sand and need the new construction to stop water that is now lapping at the community’s southernmost home.

As the East Coast braces against accelerated erosion, fueled by rising sea levels and stronger more frequent storms, Debidue is one example of how South Carolina communities are grappling with coastal adaptation.

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