Distinguishing "Nourished" from "Natural" Sediments Along the Grand Strand, SC: Implications to the Beach Erosion Research and Monitoring (BERM) Program

The Grand Strand is a heavily developed area that supports local populations, infrastructure, and tourism industry. Beaches in the Grand Strand, however, are very susceptible to storms and hurricanes, and long-term localized erosion has been severe. Coastal erosion reduces the ability of shorelines to buffer upland areas and human infrastructure, and results in the urgent needs for costly coastal modification projects. South Carolina has adopted beach nourishment (placement of presumably beach-compatible sands onto an eroding beach to replace lost sand) as the predominant strategy for slowing the effects of coastal erosion. In this proposed project, we plan to collect and analyze both “nourished” and “natural” sediments along the Grand Strand. By analyzing the grain size, organic matter, and carbonate contents of sediments, we attempt to distinguish these two types of sediments, delineate the dispersal extent of “nourished” sediments, and provide valuable information for coastal resource management and future nourishment projects.