Protect the Floodplain
Protect Natural Floodplain Functions
- Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains helps reduce flood damage and protect resources. As flooding spreads out across a floodplain, the energy from the flooding dissipates resulting in lower downstream flooding, reduced erosion of streambanks and channels, the deposition of fertile sediments higher in the watershed, and improved groundwater recharge.
- Floodplains are scenic, valued as wildlife habitat, and suitable for farming.
- Poorly planned floodplain development leads to streambank erosion, property loss, increased flooding risk, and decreased water quality.
- Activities that disturb beachfront and saltwater wetlands should first obtain permits from the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM)
- Any disturbance of freshwater wetlands requires a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and certification from SC DHEC Office of OCRM
The beach is generally wide and flat with a well‐developed berm and a system of small dunes (1 to 2 feet in height) vegetated with native species (Sea Oats and native grasses/forbs). Shoreline stabilization structures are present over approximately 3 miles of shoreline (approximately 16,000 feet of seawall, 2,200 feet of bulkhead, and 100 feet of riprap) and are currently protected from exposure to waves and near shore processes by a berm and dune system in most places.
Oceanfront dunes serve as a buffer against minor wave height fluctuations and beach erosion.
Cherry Grove Marsh serves as another nursery and breeding ground for a variety of plants and animals. Birds, including herons and egrets, live in the saltwater marsh and feed on fish and shrimp that live in the marsh. Smooth Cord Grass (Spartina alternatiflora) is present here, too. Most of the marine life is dependent on decomposing detritus from the salt marsh for their food supply. In 2002, the Pew Oceans Commission published Marine Reserves, explaining that coastal development and the loss of such estuarine nurseries was a major threat to the world’s oceans and fish and shellfish stocks.
White Point Estuary Swash is a coastal estuary ecosystem located near the southeast end of the city. This area is relatively open and is dominated by Smooth Cord Grass. Recognized on maps from the National Wetlands Inventory, this type of ecosystem is extremely valuable as a nursery for many species of marine fish, including many that have commercial and recreational value. Some examples of important Atlantic Ocean fish species dependent upon the estuary in the early part of their lives are Flounder, Spot, Drum, Croaker, Menhaden, Mullet, and Kingfish. Because the estuary is nearly surrounded by development, the ecological value of the swash may be somewhat limited. The hydrology of this estuary is particularly sensitive to its surrounding landscape; increasing the amount of impervious surfaces in adjacent areas leads to increased runoff that can erode soils. Runoff can also carry pollutants that may harm susceptible species of fish and other aquatic life.
Authorized by Congress in 1919, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) is a 3,000-mile waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some lengths consist of natural inlets, saltwater rivers, bays, and sounds; other lengths include constructed canals. Within the city there are natural inlets, saltwater rivers, and canals. The AICW provides a navigable route safe from many of the hazards inherent to travel on the open sea. In our community, the AICW is primarily used by recreational boaters and fishermen. There is increasing interest in water trails offering an eco-tourism experience attractive to paddle sports enthusiasts. An important natural resource, the AICW connects the City from its southern boundary to Hog Inlet at the North.