Posted on July 26, 2023
Hurricane Ian made landfall as a category-one storm near Georgetown back in September. The high wind and storm surge washed away sand dunes and left our coast open to even more damage.
Myrtle Beach city leaders have been working for months to restore that layer of protection.
Sand fencing and sea grass are critical components to rebuilding sand dunes.
Following Hurricane Ian, City of Myrtle Beach leaders weren’t expecting to begin installing any new fencing until the end of the summer. Now, they’ve completed the project much earlier than expected.
When Hurricane Ian made landfall in Myrtle Beach in September 2022, it completely wiped out the sand dunes, fencing, and seagrass lining the coast.
“The dunes are our first line of defense in the event of a hurricane,” said City of Myrtle Beach spokesperson Mark Kruea. “They’re good for that initial collision with the ocean when you get storm surge, and it slows it down a little bit, but it’s also designed to wear away. The sand dunes will take that brunt and dissolve.”
As we near the peak of the 2023 hurricane season, Kruea said officials needed to act quickly in restoring the dunes.
“We’re going to get a full beach re-nourishment, but probably not until next year; so, we needed to do something. So, we’re going to put the sand dunes up, and the seagrass goes in, and that will help build dunes.”
Crews completed adding the new sand fencing on Saturday, which was well ahead of their expected schedule.
“This is the backup option. We need to start building sand dunes as best we can. It didn’t get completely flattened in Ian, but a lot of them were flattened in Ian,” Kruea explained.
When the Army Corps of Engineers completes a full beach re-nourishment in 2024, they’ll bring in more sand to help build the dunes up; but until then, the fencing, and planting of more seagrass, will start that process.
“The sand fencing catches the sand that the wind blows and helps build the dunes. And, after a while, after about five years, you can’t even see the fence cause the dunes have grown over the top of the fence. The seagrass also helps catch that windblown sand and anchor those new dunes.”
The city has hired an outside contractor to put in 150,000 new sprigs of seagrass behind the dunes. Kruea said they’re expecting the new seagrass to be planted along the beaches within the next two weeks.