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Adapting to Shoreline Change: A Foundation for Improved Management and Planning in South Carolina - Final Report of the Shoreline Change Advisory Committee

Created: 3/31/2010 - Updated: 3/13/2019


In 2007, DHEC-OCRM initiated 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 estuarine and beachfront shorelines. DHEC established 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 Shoreline Change Advisory Committee (SCAC) released a draft report in November 2009 and a subsequent final report in April 2010. The report contains 13 general recommendations, and numerous sub-recommendations for consideration by public officials and decision-makers. Background Twenty years ago, a "blue ribbon panel" was convened by the former South Carolina Coastal Council (now SCDHEC-OCRM) to address what was considered a "crisis" situation involving our beaches. Recognizing the threats of chronic erosion, gradual sea level rise, increased shoreline development, and a lack of comprehensive beachfront planning and management, the panel developed recommendations that provided guidance to state regulators and legislators in developing state beach management policies. Most of their recommendations were adopted into law through the Beachfront Management Act of 1988. Over the past two decades, the Beachfront Management Act and associated regulations have significantly limited development and hard stabilization of the beachfront in many areas. However, the issues addressed by the 1987 panel remain critical. We face a growing challenge in balancing the protection of economic and environmental resources along our shorelines.

Published On

Thursday, April 1, 2010


State / Provincial
Sector Addressed: 
Development (socioeconomic)
Disaster Risk Management
Land Use Planning
Transportation / Infrastructure
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Sea level rise
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate future conditions into natural resources planning and policies
Capacity Building
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Make infrastructure resistant or resilient to climate change
Create or modify shoreline management measures
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptive management strategies
Climate Type: 
Sociopolitical Setting: 

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