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Ocean & Coastal Resource Management (OCRM)

Coastal Zone Enforcement

The South Carolina Coastal Tidelands and Wetlands Act was passed by the 1977 General Assembly of South Carolina to provide for the protection and enhancement of South Carolina's coastal resources. Under the Act, DHEC has direct statutory authority within the eight coastal counties (Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry and Jasper) for all structures and alterations within the critical area, including coastal waters, tidelands, beaches and the beach/dune system. DHEC is also empowered to review all State and Federal permit applications and activities to determine their consistency with the South Carolina Coastal Zone Management Program.


General Enforcement Process

A project is considered to be in violation if the structure or activity exceeds the scope of the issued permit, does not comply with specifications and/or conditions outlined in the permit, is not permitted as required or is otherwise prohibited by statute.

As part of a comprehensive enforcement process, DHEC may require individuals to perform the following:

  • Stop work under a Cease and Desist Directive;
  • Remove the structure in violation;
  • Modify the structure or activity in violation;
  • Submit an after-the-fact permit application;
  • Restore the site to original conditions;
  • Pay civil fines.

Creek and Beach Watch

Citizens are encouraged to report possible violations of the SC Coastal Zone Management Act by calling our toll-free 24-hour hotline: 1-800-768-1516 or using our online webform. You may also submit your report via e-mail to Your report will remain confidential and you may request to remain anonymous.

Whenever possible during normal business hours, calls will be answered by a DHEC enforcement staff member. At other times an answering machine will take the report. DHEC enforcement personnel will investigate reports of possible violations, take appropriate action and, if requested, notify the person making the report of any action taken.