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The Town of Edisto Beach received a Municipal Achievement Award for its beach renourishment project. Officials accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's Annual Meeting on July 21. The town won in the 1- 1,000 population category. Thirty cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
If tourism is the Town of Edisto's industry, then the town's 4.4-mile beachfront is its industrial park. That means the wellbeing of the town as well as the preservation of this unique natural asset depend on protecting the coastline from the waves, tides, storm surges and other forces that cause sand to build up or to erode.
In 2017, the town restored approximately 835,000 cubic yards of sand to the eroded beach and lengthened 26 groins. The technically complex, multi-million dollar project received funds from local tourism taxes and fees, including Colleton County's capital project sales tax, and grants from the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The town also established a Beachfront Management Committee to provide input to the coastal engineer throughout the design and permitting process.
Permitting was already a complex piece of the process, in part, because it called for efforts to protect nesting turtles and other monitoring activities. When hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew hit, the permitting had to be modified.
By teaming up with the Edisto Beach State Park, the town shared the cost of mobilization and demobilization — the largest cost component of the nourishment projects. Of the $18 million project cost, the town contributed 16 percent. Four other entities shared the project costs.
"Town leaders were successful in selling the benefits of the project to the other partners in order to acquire the necessary funding," said Wayne George, executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. Information and a video about the project are available on the Association's website www.masc.sc (keyword: Achievement Awards).
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.