319 Sewee to Santee Watershed Project Pictures

Sewee to Santee Watershed

319 Water Quality Grant

 

Background

Since April, 2009, the Charleston Conservation District has been implementing a watershed based plan to improve water quality in the rural, economically underserved Sewee to Santee area of Northern Charleston County.  Funded by the U.S. EPA trhought the S.C. DHEC, the main goal of the grant is to reduce bacteria levels in the waterways, so that shellfish beds can be reopened for harvesting.  Common bacteria sources are failing septic systems, livestock waste, pet waste, and marine sanitary waste discharged from boats.  Since the start of this grant, we have completed four phases of septic repairs/replacements for almost 70 properties.  Many of these included the most severe cases of failing systems due to poor soils, high water tables, old, inadequate systems, or user abuse and lack of proper maintenance (sometimes all factors contributed!).

 

Outreach Efforts

Two major outreach efforts were accomplished in 2011.  The first is the completion of the water quality outreach signage, entitled Our Connected CoastFour 2 x 3 ft. cantilever signs, based on commissioned artwork, were installed at McClellanville, Buck Hall, and Garris boat landings, and at the Sewee Visitor & Environmental Education Center.  Please stop by these locations and check out our beautiful and educational signs!

We also printed various poster sizes of the signs to be used at hiking and canoe trailheads, Awendaw and McClellanville Town Halls, local schools, the Sewee Center, and festivals.  

Speaking of festivals, in October of 2011 we hosted a tent at the Awendaw Blue Crab Festival at Camp Sewee.  There we were able to demonstrate to adults and children alike, the effects of nonpoint source pollution on a coastal watershed using an EnviroScape model.

 

Success So Far:

In its 2011 annual report to EPA, DHEC reported that they recently reopened 883 acres of shellfish harvesting beds near McClellanville because bacteria levels in the water declined.  Through the grant we have replaced over 20 failing systems in the immediate vicinity of the reopened harvesting area.  DHEC stated that the reopening is an encouraging sign that the septic tank repairs and replacements, oyster bed replenishing, as well as the educational efforts are paying dividends. 

We have reached the end of our grant project this past October 2012.  With prospects for completing approximately 70 septic repairs, we hope that they will see continued improvements in water quality even byond the end date of our project!   Our final project summary report is available for your information!

 

If you have any questions about our grant, you can reach Lisa Hajjar, Grant Manager, at 843-425-3050 or Debbie Eckard, Grant Administrator at 843-727-4160 x 3.  

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