Shoreline Change Initiative

In 1986, a Blue Ribbon Panel was convened by the former South Carolina Coastal Council (now DHEC-OCRM) to address what was considered a "crisis" situation involving our beaches.

In the two decades following the passage of the 1988 Beachfront Management Act and associated regulations, hard stabilization of the beachfront was reduced yet development in high hazard areas persisted. Planning and regulatory efforts outlined in the Beachfront Management Act endeavored to balance economic development and private property rights with public access and conservation of valuable public trust resources. However, the challenges addressed by the 1986 Blue Ribbon Committee persisted, and new challenges began to emerge along the beachfront.

In 2007, in response to these challenges, DHEC OCRM established a Shoreline Change Initiative to organize existing data collection and research efforts, identify additional research needs, and formulate policy options to guide the management of South Carolina’s beachfront and estuarine shorelines. DHEC OCRM established the Shoreline Change Advisory Committee (SCAC), an external advisory panel made up of 23 scientists, agency researchers, municipal officials, and various stakeholders to discuss the past two decades of experiences under the SC Beachfront Management Act and to identify potential research and policy needs related to beachfront and estuarine shoreline management for the coming decades. The SCAC released a  final report in April 2010, which contains 13 general recommendations, and numerous sub-recommendations for consideration by public officials and decision-makers.

On October 14, 2010, the DHEC Board selected the membership of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Management. Representing a broad range of stakeholder interests, this committee developed specific regulatory recommendations to enhance the management of fragile coastal resources and habitats, improve coastal planning, and prepare South Carolina for emerging challenges and opportunities for our beaches and estuarine shorelines.