Investigating Post-Hurricane Damage Mitigation Techniques on Dune System Recovery

Authors: Sean McGill*, University of South Carolina, Jean T. Ellis, University of South Carolina, Mayra A. Román-Rivera, University of South Carolina
Topics: Geomorphology, Marine and Coastal Resources, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Coastal Geomorphology, Hurricanes, Beach Erosion, Natural Hazards
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Grand Ballroom C, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The coast of South Carolina is strongly impacted by hurricanes that either make direct landfall or are in the vicinity so their winds and waves make substantial impact. On September 10th, 2017 Hurricane Irma made landfall on the United States mainland on Marco Island, Florida. Although the eye of the storm stayed along the Gulf of Mexico coast of Florida, South Carolina’s coastal communities also felt the impacts of the storm on September 11th, 2017. Heavy beach erosion was observed across the state due to Irma’s strong winds, large waves, and storm surge. Isle of Palms, SC experienced extensive dune erosion that required post-storm scraping. The repositioning of sand from the nearshore to the former primary dune line was executed to prevent additional flooding to homes from forthcoming king tides. Our research monitors dune recovery, comparing adjacent sections of beach that were and were not scraped. The non-scraped regions acted as the control. Topographic surveys, vegetation surveys, and sediment analysis of the dunes and beach were conducted every three weeks starting days after the storm. Topographic survey data were used to create Digital Elevation Models and change maps to reveal regions of accretion and/or erosion in the dune system. Preliminary results are not possible to report here only one month following the storm. However, we anticipate that the section of the dune that was not scraped will recover more rapidly than the scraped section.

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