Tag Archives: OCRM

DHEC participates in national conference aimed at keeping plastics out marine waters and surrounding areas

On March 30, DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) participated in a national conference focused on the reduction and prevention of plastics in the ocean, coastal waters and surrounding areas, such as sand on the beach. Breaking Down Plastics brought together over 500 environmental experts, non-governmental organizations, public agencies, private companies and concerned citizens to discuss the impact that plastic pollution has on the ocean environment, public health and coastal communities.

OCRM’s Coastal Services Division Director, Dan Burger, moderated the panel Government Vanguards of the Aquatic Debris Movement. Dan highlighted OCRM’s efforts, including abandoned and poorly kept vessel removal, Adopt-A-Beach and its recent cigarette litter reduction pilot study on Folly Beach. Additionally, Dan talked about how DHEC is using its MyCoast mobile app to collect data that can be used to help target reduction and prevention efforts.

Panelists from the U.S. Army, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discussed the innovative roles government plays in plastic polymer research, plastic pollution source reduction and local partnership efforts that have resulted in significant pollution reduction and healthier environments. Outside at the Plastics Solutions Pavilion, DHEC staff members Liz Hartje (OCRM) and Adah Gorton (BLWM) distributed examples of innovative educational materials and discussed how DHEC works every day to foster partnerships, reduce pollution and promote recycling.

Although there is much work to be done, South Carolina’s coastal environment benefits from DHEC’s community-based pollution reduction efforts.

Complete conference details, including video of keynote speakers and panelists, is available at http://plastic.scaquarium.org/about.

To learn more about DHEC’s Marine Debris Program, please visit


Cigarette Litter Reduction Pilot Study: Folly Beach

Is it possible to reduce cigarette litter along a stretch of beach by educating people about the perils of tossing butts on the ground and enhancing options for disposing of the waste?

That’s the question DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) tackled over the past year through a pilot project conducted along a short stretch of a South Carolina beach.

Monitoring cigarette litter at Folly Beach

The project began in 2015, when OCRM received a grant from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct a cigarette litter reduction pilot study on Folly Beach in Charleston County. The pilot strategy involved targeted education and enhancement of cigarette litter disposal options. Additionally, OCRM monitored cigarette litter on the beach both before and after the project began in order to estimate its impact.cigarettelitterfacts

In late 2015, the team began designing educational materials, including flyers and foldable beach ashtrays, to increase public awareness and encourage proper disposal of cigarette litter. These materials were distributed at businesses on Folly Beach from June through September 2016.

In January 2016, new cigarette receptacles were installed at 15 walkovers on Folly. Previously installed receptacles were often used for disposal of non-smoking-related litter, which resulted in the receptacles becoming clogged. The new receptacles, made of sturdy PVC material, included an opening just wide enough to fit a cigarette butt.

The results: A reduction in cigarette litter

Monitoring events were conducted in September 2015 before implementing the project strategy, and in September 2016 after implementation.


While there are a number of factors that influence the number of cigarette butts encountered on the beach on any given day, including tidal and weather conditions,  a comparison of the 2015 and 2016 post-Labor Day monitoring results shows that approximately 200 fewer cigarettes per person-hour were collected in 2016 than in 2015. In total, nearly 10,000 cigarette butts were removed from the 0.25-mile monitoring area over the course of this study. For more information on this pilot study, visit the project webpage.

Charleston Resilience Network

By Dan Burger,  Coastal Services Division Director,  DHEC Ocean and Coastal Resource Management

On February 23, leaders from throughout the Charleston region attended a symposium hosted by the Charleston Resilience Network (CRN) and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). DHEC has provided leadership to establish the CRN, a new inter-governmental and cross-sector partnership working to align programs and foster a unified strategy that results in regional resilience to water-related hazards. The symposium, Understanding the October 2015 Floods, included panels of experts, leading professionals and elected officials in a facilitated discussion that examined the Charleston region’s resilience to tidal and storm-related flooding.

NAS Resilient America Roundtable member, Brigadier General (ret.) Dr. Gerry Galloway and I welcomed the audience and promoted the need for inter-governmental and cross-sector collaboration in the development of resilience strategies. Throughout the day, an engaging dialog took place among critical service providers, emergency responders, business leaders, disaster relief organizations and elected officials.

crn event 2

Charleston City Council Member Michael Seekings provides his perspective on resilience to the audience. Also pictured: moderator Dr. Gerry Galloway (left), Charleston Public Service Director Laura Cabiness and North Charleston City Council Member Rhonda Jerome.


Participants also learned about the meteorological conditions that led to the widespread flooding from the National Weather Service, tidal flooding projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and innovative flood mapping efforts from the College of Charleston, Lowcountry Hazards Center. A findings document from the symposium will be available this spring.

CRN will continue to build on this dialog as it engages stakeholders and works to enhance accessibility to flood hazard information, including planning and vulnerability assessment tools.

For more information on the Charleston Resilience Network, please visit:


or http://www.charlestonresilience.net

New Year – New Tide Tables

By Liz Hartje, DHEC Coastal Projects Manager

A new year is on the horizon, and South Carolinians who want to update their calendars with a new year of tidal information can now get the 2016 Tide Table Poster from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

The Tide Table Posters are produced by DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) to help citizens monitor and plan for tidal events along the coast. The tables provide daily tidal information based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tide predictions, including dates and times of high tides with corresponding water levels, and dates and times of low tides.

Impacts of tides vary, but extreme high tides may wash debris and contaminants into coastal environments or cause coastal erosion and flooding. Knowing when tides occur can help South Carolina’s coastal communities and residents prepare. Tidal information also helps residents and visitors plan for recreational activities such as kayaking, boating or a trip to the beach.

Where to Get Your Tide Table Poster

Limited supplies of printed Tide Tables are available at DHEC OCRM offices in Charleston, Beaufort and Myrtle Beach. A foldable, desktop version of the chart is also available online. To learn more about the Tide Tables and to download the 2016 poster, click here.

2016 Tide Table Download

Coastal Photography 

DHEC holds its Coastal Photography Contest each year to determine the featured photograph for the new Tide Table Poster and web page. Nearly 100 photos were received during the 2015 contest, and  Justin Morris was selected with his winning photo, Orange Crush, which was captured at Folly Beach. Congratulations, Justin!

About Tides

The rise and fall of tides are caused by the gravitational and centrifugal forces exerted by the moon, sun and the earth.  These forces produce two high tides and two low tides per day in South Carolina.

The highest seasonal tides occur when the earth, moon, and sun are aligned, and the moon is closest to the earth in its elliptical orbit, known as perigee. Often referred to as King Tides, these extreme high tides are predictable based on the known astronomical forces described above. But, it’s important to remember that meteorological conditions like onshore winds, low atmospheric pressure, and precipitation can push water inland and result in water levels that greatly exceed astronomical predictions.

MY SC King Tide Entry Murrels Inlet.jpg

King tide photo at Murrels Inlet submitted by Christopher Stout

King Tides Program


DHEC is leading the South Carolina King Tides initiative to document the effect that extreme tide events have on our state’s beaches, coastal waterways, private property and public infrastructure.

Through the initiative, citizen scientists can submit their photos of king tide events to help DHEC monitor and respond to coastal environmental issues. The photos are included in DHEC’s long-term analysis of coastal vulnerability and planning initiatives with municipalities.

To participate in the South Carolina King Tides Initiative, click here.