North Myrtle Beach is getting more than $10.6 million in emergency federal funding to repair the oceanfront damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, which flattened dunes and nearly swept away entire beaches in some areas.
The federal funding was secured by Congressman Tom Rice, R-Myrtle Beach, and it means that work by the Army Corps of Engineers could start this year.
“Beaches are the lifeblood of the Grand Strand and they’ve been hit hard over the past few years,” Rice said in a statement. “While this money won’t replace all the erosion, it will certainly help and I will continue to explore ways to rebuild and repair beachfront all along the Grand Strand.”
Marilyn Hatley, mayor of North Myrtle Beach, said the emergency funding means local government won’t have to kick in matching funds, and the shoreline work should take care of beach renourishment needs for the next decade.
“They saw the dire need that we had for renourishment,” Hatley said after the funding was announced Friday.
“We have a lot of areas that really have no dunes or no beaches whatsoever at high tide,” Hatley said. “Cherry Grove being the worst, Windy Hill being the second worst. And, this will ensure that the beaches are built back up in those areas.”
While the Army Corps of Engineers will pay for the dredging and beach work, the city will pay for dune reconstruction and planting sea oats.
“Our beaches are a jewel for the state of South Carolina, we provide a lot of tax dollars for the state,” Hatley said. “Many people from all over the state and other states have invested a lot of money along the beaches, and it is necessary that we have beach renourishment.”
Natural disasters like hurricanes and floods have devastated the state of South Carolina in recent years, including significant beach erosion to parts of the coastline.
Following October storms in 2015 and 2016, Rice said he worked with the Army Corps and the House Appropriations Committee to assess beachfront damages and secure funding as part of this year’s spending bill.
The $10.6 million will address the North Myrtle Beach reach of the Myrtle Beach Shore Protection Project. Congress also has appropriated $16 million for beach renourishment along the southern reach of the Grand Strand.