WILDLIFE ON KIAWAH ISLAND

KIAWAH'S BEACH

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Town of Kiawah Island
21 Beachwalker Drive
Kiawah Island, SC 29455
(843) 768-9166
Email a Town Biologist
Kiawah Island boasts over 10 miles of beach and dunes which provide a number of important functions. These include: storm protection for upland areas, habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, nesting habitat for sea turtles and shorebirds, and recreational opportunities for residents and guests.

General Condition

Kiawah Island's 10 mile long beach is one the island's major attractions. Like all beaches, Kiawah's beach undergoes periods of erosion (loss of sand) and accretion (gain of sand). The Town of Kiawah Island monitors the island's beach for changes and conducts management activities as needed. Coastal Science and Engineering is the Town's beach monitoring firm.

The 2011 beach survey indicates that Kiawah's beach continues to remain healthy and most areas are accreting sand. The east end of the beach continues to change dramatically but the net result is a more stable shoreline with lots of new dune vegetation.

Public Beach Access

Beachwalker County Park is a public beach access located on the western end of Kiawah Island. This Charleston County park offers a wide, sandy beach with a designated swimming area, dressing areas, outdoor showers, restrooms, picnic area with grills, snack bar (seasonal), beach chair & umbrella rentals. Lifeguards are on duty seasonally. For more information and park hours, visit the Park website.

General Condition

In 2006, the Town conducted a large scale Beach Restoration Project on the eastern end of Kiawah Island. This project successfully stopped intensive erosion on the eastern end of the island adjacent to the Ocean Course clubhouse. A total of 550,000 cubic yards of sand was moved onto the beach by land-based equipment. The total project cost was $3.6 million, the majority of which was paid by the Town of Kiawah Island. Financial contributions to the project also came from the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Development Partners, and the Kiawah Island Community Association.

 

Monitoring of this projectís success is conducted annually in conjunction with the overall beach survey. In addition, the mitigation plan for the project requires annual monitoring of habitat changes (including ground elevation surveys and aerial orthophotography) and periodic piping plover surveys of the project area through 2012.

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Annual Beach Survey Reports
2006 East End Report (includes entire beach)
2007 Report
2008 Report
2009 Report
2010 Report
2011 Report
Beachfront dog leash regulation map.

Please clean up after you pet.  Mutt-mitts are available at most boardwalks for your convenience
 
Walking through the dunes and disturbing dune vegetation is prohibited
 
No littering.  Trash cans and recycling bins are provided at most boardwalks
 
No glass containers allowed on beach
 
No fires or fireworks
 
No overnight storage of beach equipment (chairs, umbrellas, etc.)
 
No overnight sleeping or public nudity
 
Do not touch or disturb any sea turtle nest, eggs, or hatchlings for any reason
 
Stay out of bird nesting areas located on either end of the beach (marked with yellow signs)
BEACH RULES AND REGULATIONS
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Beach Concessions

Two companies provide beach concession services for the Town. Each company provides service to a specific section of the beach. Beach chairs, umbrellas, and recreational equipment are available for daily or weekly rental. The equipment can be rented at the beach or you can call one of the companies for a reservation. 

Island Beach Service:   843-813-4125 or 813-4126  Kiawah Island Recreation:   843-768-6001

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Beach Patrol

The Beach Patrol program started in March 1995. The Town contracts out this service with a private vendor. The Beach Patrol is responsible for monitoring the activities of the beach, answering questions from residents and visitors, responding to lost child calls, answering routine medical calls, monitoring the weather and swimming conditions, and informing residents and visitors about Town ordinances that regulate beach activities (e.g. keep out of dunes, leash regulations, etc.).

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Download 2012 Beach Management Plan (pdf)