Polluted Flood Water
Rising sea levels and more frequent intense rain storms create polluted flood water that drains away to tidal creeks and rivers hurting their health. The City of Charleston’s Sea Level Rise Strategy is a step in the right direction. Other local cities, counties, sewer system providers, and industrial wastewater treatment plants must follow suit and plan to lessen their impact on both the quantity and the quality of their flood water. Charleston Waterkeeper is calling for a regional, holistic sea level rise plan that employs green infrastructure and other adaptation strategies that decrease flood water quantity and increase its quality.
Industrialization of Coastal Waterways
The federal government is considering whether to open South Carolina’s offshore waters to oil and gas drilling. Offshore drilling means inshore industrialization of our coastal waterways. Oil refineries, pipelines, and storage infrastructure damage nearby waterways and salt marsh and are incompatible with our coastal economy and special way of life. Charleston Waterkeeper is working with our partners in the conservation community to prevent the industrialization of our coastal waterways and call on Governor Haley to remove South Carolina from consideration.
Contamination of Aquatic Life
Work by NOAA research scientists at Fort Johnson found high levels of the toxic chemicals PFAS and PBDE in the blood and blubber of our local Atlantic bottlenose dolphin population. Researchers also found the contaminated dolphin were not as healthy as uncontaminated dolphin. Despite the clear impact of these chemicals on aquatic life, little is known about their source in our waterways. Charleston Waterkeeper is working with key partners in the conservation community to call on users to disclose PFAS and PBDE use, stop all non essential use, and account for their safe disposal.
Threatened Tidal Creeks
Our local tidal creeks are the link between land and water providing the first signs of negative impacts from pollution to our coastal waterways. Tidal creeks like Shem Creek, Gadsden Creek, and Yellow House Creek are under threat from bacteria contamination, poorly planned development, and outdated drainage practices. These systems must be preserved and, where necessary, restored to protect our coastal waterways, salt marshes, wetlands, and property. Charleston Waterkeeper will continue to work with a wide range of community partners to ensure our tidal creek systems are protected and can thrive.
Research by scientists at the College of Charleston and the Citadel shows that plastics are entering our waterways at an alarming rate. Once there, they quickly break down into microplastics and are often mistaken for food by birds and aquatic life. Charleston Waterkeeper is supporting local research to understand how microplastics move through our waterways and ordinances that keep common plastic pollution out of the local consumer stream. We are also mobilizing the community through our Volunteer Corps to remove plastic debris from local waterways.