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2012-2014 Research Projects: Hazard Resilience in Coastal Communities

Project: Observational and Modeling Studies to Benefit the Management and Selection of Borrow Sites for Beach Nourishment in South Carolina

Principal Investigators

Kehui Xu and Ansley Wren, Coastal Carolina University

Project Number


Research Description

South Carolina beaches provide an integral resource for South Carolina’s economy, supporting local tourism and infrastructure protection during storm events. South Carolina has adopted beach nourishment as a primary strategy to address coastal erosion. Since 1985, at least 24 nourishment projects have added a total of over 27.5 million cubic yards of sand to state beaches at a cost of nearly $225 million. But the state’s sand resources suitable for nourishment are very limited. Few studies have reliably predicted borrow-pit infill rates and sediment composition based on expected borrow-area placement and design.

At borrow pits for beach-nourishment infill at the Bay Points Shoals east of the Hilton Head Island, S.C., we will collect hydrodynamic and sediment transport data within the bottom boundary layer at three sites and use them to establish, calibrate, and validate models to study borrow-area infilling processes following the dredging. We will provide research results to the town of Hilton Head and its private consulting firm on these technical matters. Later, these models could be used statewide to understand how borrow pits in other locations will infill.

Contact for Questions

Kehui “Kevin” Xu (