Annual 'State of the Beaches' Report

Most beaches in South Carolina go through a yearly cycle of profile change. In the summer, smaller waves tend to push sand up the beach, forming a wider berm and a steeper beach slope below mean high water. In the winter, higher energy waves erode sand from the berm and move it to an offshore bar, resulting in a narrower high-tide beach and a more gently sloping beach below mean high water. In many cases this seasonal profile variation is greater in magnitude than the long-term trend for a particular island or beach. In addition to seasonal changes, coastal storms and extreme high tides can dramatically change beach profiles. 

DHEC OCRM is required by regulation to collect dune, intertidal, and nearshore beach profile data at 400 monitoring stations distributed along the South Carolina beachfront. This data has been collected since the late 1980’s and continues to be collected annually. In the past, DHEC OCRM developed static ‘State of the Beaches’ reports to summarize data and changes to South Carolina beaches. Using modern technology, beach profile data is now shared directly with the public through DHEC OCRM’s Beach Erosion Research and Monitoring (BERM) Explorer Web Application. This application shows monitoring station IDs, locations, and beach profiles. The application also allows users to calculate changes in sand volume between years at each profile and download raw data for additional analysis. 

Past State of the Beaches Reports