Prince George group seeks permit to move Pawleys Inlet – Coastal Observer


Prince George group seeks permit to move Pawleys Inlet

As Pawleys Inlet migrated south, the end of the island got wider as well as longer.

Property owners at Prince George are seeking federal and state approval to move Pawleys Inlet nearly half a mile north in order to restore the beach they say has been lost because of a renourishment project on Pawleys Island.

The beach that now stretches 2,500 feet south of the public parking lot on the island would be reduced to 435 feet under the plan submitted last month to the Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

And the proposal from the Prince George Community Association would allow it to limit future movement of the inlet.

“Experts agree that an inlet management zone is the best way to address the existing erosion problems and prevent such damage in the future,” the association said in a statement.

The inlet has migrated about 1,000 feet since the town of Pawleys Island completed a renourishment project in March 2020 that placed 1.1 million cubic yards of offshore sand on the island’s beachfront. Most of that sand was placed along the narrow south end.

The movement of the inlet prompted three lawsuits from property owners at Prince George, a gated community on the south side of Pawleys Island. They name DHEC, which approved the project; the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, which helped fund it; the town, its engineers and its contractor; and ask the Circuit Court to order the beach at Prince George be restored to its condition before the renourishment. The suits are scheduled for trial sometime after June 3.

While the suits are pending, all the parties agreed that plans could be made to restore the beach and inlet without prejudicing their legal claims.

The permit request calls for cutting a new inlet across the 750-foot-wide southern end of the island and using the sand, estimated at up to 185,000 cubic yards, to fill in the existing inlet. Up to 115,000 cubic yards of upland sand will be needed to completely fill the inlet and rebuild the beachfront at Prince George, according to the permit request. That will be hauled by truck through Prince George.

Once the new inlet is cut, the sand that is currently part of Pawleys Island is expected to migrate to  Prince George.

“Periodic inlet relocation projects are likely needed as part of future renourishment projects depending on the rate of southern migration of the inlet,” according to the application.

It includes data from a 2010 study of Pawleys Inlet by Coastal Science and Engineering that was commissioned by the Prince George association that showed the inlet had moved within a range of 2,800 feet over 80 years. It recommended establishing an 1,100-foot “management corridor” within the middle of that historic range.

The Prince George permit request would place a new inlet at the northern end of the corridor. According to aerial photos, that is where the inlet was located in 1977.

Historical data shows the inlet migrates south at a rate between 40 and 75 feet a year. When the southern edge of the inlet reaches the southern edge of the corridor, planning will start to move the inlet back north.

“Assuming no additional nourishment sand is added to Pawleys Island, the inlet relocation cycle is estimated to be between 5-10 years,” according to the application.

The southern limit of the proposed inlet corridor is about 400 feet north of Beach Bridge Road, which provides access to the beachfront houses at Prince George. The road is now protected with a rock revetment.

Without the project, the houses, the road and utilities will be threatened by storms and high tides, the application said. Since the south end of Pawleys Island has grown wider as well as longer, it is less likely that the inlet will relocate  as the result of a breach.

“The only benefits from this condition would be the longer beach for walking and some additional habitat on the spit/southern end of Pawleys Island, which would be subject to human intrusion,” according to the application.

It calls the proposed project “a return to the natural conditions.”

The agencies have not yet issued notices for public comments on the application.



Georgetown County Board of Education: First and third Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Beck Education Center. For details, go to Georgetown County Council: Second and fourth Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Council Chambers, 129 Screven St., Georgetown. For details, go to Pawleys Island Town Council: Second Mondays, 5 p.m. Town Hall, 323 Myrtle Ave. For details, go to   , .