After working together for the past several months, the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission and the Coastal Conservation League (CCL) have come to an agreement regarding monitoring of impacts associated with the proposed groin for Folly Beach County Park. The groin permit application is still being considered by public agencies for approval. Based on this agreement, CCL will not challenge the permits for the project, if they are issued. CCL urges the regulatory agencies to use their best judgement in making the permit decisions.
Both CCPRC and CCL are aligned in their goals to protect the environment and critical habitats Charleston County citizens care about. Skimmer Flats, immediately downdrift of the Folly Beach County Park, is one of four remaining important shorebird habitats along South Carolina’s coast. CCPRC and CCL agree that any negative impacts to Skimmer Flats must be immediately mitigated. The key to ensuring quick action in the event that Skimmer Flats is harmed depends on the project’s monitoring team. With that in mind, CCPRC and CCL have agreed on a process to select a monitoring team with the scientific skill to objectively evaluate complex geologic processes and biological risks.
We concur that the project's highly competent designer should serve on the selection committee but will not conduct the project monitoring and performance evaluation. This committee will review monitoring and evaluation proposals from other coastal geologists and engineers. The team chosen by the committee will design and conduct the monitoring program that will serve as the basis for action in the event subsequent damage occurs at Skimmer Flats.
CCPRC and CCL agree that erosion on Folly Beach is a result of unique historical conditions. Folly Beach is exempt from the Beachfront Management Act because the Charleston District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers recognized that the construction and continued operation of the Charleston Harbor jetties have contributed to more than half of the erosion rates occurring at Folly Island. Because of these circumstances, CCPRC and CCL do not consider regulatory decisions here to serve as a precedent in other areas on the coast.