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Annual 'State of the Beaches' Report

Most beaches in South Carolina go through a yearly cycle of profile change. In the summer, smaller waves tend to push sand up the beach, forming a wider berm and a steeper beach slope below mean high water. In the winter, higher energy waves erode sand from the berm and move it to an offshore bar, resulting in a narrower high-tide beach and a more gently sloping beach below mean high water. In many cases this seasonal profile variation is greater in magnitude than the long-term trend for a particular island or beach.

The following reports summarize changes to South Carolina’s beaches based on beach profile surveys at 399 monitoring stations throughout the state using 483 unique beach profiles:

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