Pumping Sand from Folly River onto Bird Key Stono

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, recently pumped sand from Folly River onto Bird Key Stono to renourish this 35-acre bird nesting habitat.

Image source: The Corps Charleston District

Historically, the District has placed fill on Bird Key Stono when dredging the Folly River Federal Navigation Channel since it’s the least cost disposal site for the operations and maintenance dredging of Folly River.

According to USACE, renourishment on Bird Key Stono was important as the island suffered significant erosion from Hurricane Irma, which left little room for birds to live and nest on.

Forty-thousand yards of material was needed to replace the lost sand, approximately 4,000 dump trucks, which cost $300,000 and was 100 percent federally-funded by the Corps.

This project is a win-win,” said Alan Shirey, environmental engineer. “We are able to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money since pumping the dredged material onto Bird Key is the cheapest way to dispose of the material and protects the environment by increasing the footprint of Bird Key.”

The cutterhead dredge Cherokee was used to suck up sand and water from the floor of the Folly River then pumped onto Bird Key Stono through pipes and, finally, bulldozers shaped the sand.

The Corps planned the dredging project around the spring nesting season so that the birds would have a new habitat before the season starts.