​Edisto Beach Nourishment Project

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. 

But protecting the beachfront calls for perseverance and cooperation. Luckily, Edisto Beach officials had both and were ready to step up and make the case for the project in order to win the support of various stakeholders.

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 S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The town established a Beachfront Management Committee to provide input to the coastal engineer throughout the design and permitting process. 

Mother Nature made things more difficult. 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.

This project would have been a lot smaller without the contributions of partners. By teaming up with the Edisto Beach State Park, the cost of mobilization and demobilization — the largest cost component of the nourishment projects — was shared. Of the $18 million project cost, the town contributed 16 percent. Four other entities shared the project costs. But before they joined in, the partners needed assurances that their contributions would be leveraged for the greatest result. Town leaders were successful in selling the benefits of the project to the other partners in order to acquire the necessary funding.

Contact Iris Hill at or 843.869.2505.