Thursday, November 16, 2023 Blog

North Coast Newsletter: November

by Leslie Bogstad

Welcome to the November 2023 issue of the North Coast newsletter!

How in the world is it the start of the holiday season already?! For many of us living along the coast, the holidays also mean prime oyster roasting season with friends and family. Below, we talk about the importance of oysters to us in terms of tradition, but more importantly, the role oysters play in the ecosystem. Read on to learn how you can help sustain our North Coast oyster populations by recycling your shells. As always, please let us know if you have any suggestions for what you’d like us to cover in the next newsletter.

Best regards,



Almost as far back as I can remember, oyster roasts have been a part of many gatherings, sometimes in large crowds (like when I bartended at Hot Fish Club) but more often just a few good friends or immediate family (Thanksgiving break or Christmas Eve). It was more than a meal; it was fellowship. Often, guitars were uncased (I can’t play a lick but have many friends that do) and good-time stories were remembered. The eastern oyster is a delicacy that brings us together this time of year,  but this bivalve is also an integral part of the estuary ecosystem.

Oysters can filter 50 gallons of water a day, prevent erosion, and provide habitat for many other species. When oysters eat –or filtrate water through their gills–they in turn strain out sediment and pollutants. While this keystone species’ population is currently considered stable, the national population has declined dramatically since the 1930s as demand has continued to increase. But there is a solution to this issue: recycling your oyster shells! Post-roast shell recycling by individuals via community hosted recycling bins and restaurant recycling via SC Department of Natural Resources’ South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement (SCORE)  program can make a big difference.



The North Coast office has been coordinating with Solid Waste Authority (SWA) and SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) in Horry County to establish more oyster recycling bins throughout the county. Unfortunately, the idea of having shell recycling bins at existing county wide recycling convenience centers did not come to fruition. Yet, we were able to establish a shell recycling bin at the Hwy 90 landfill site hosted by SWA! For folks like me living in the rural part of the county, recycling shell meant driving almost an hour away. Now, thanks to SWA we have a new and much more convenient option to responsibly recycle our shells!

Without the recycling of oyster shell, young oysters (called spat) do not have proper substrate to attach to and grow upon to mature into adults. By recycling your shell, and encouraging others (like your favorite restaurants) to do so, populations of oysters are sustained and the ecosystem continues to function properly. Oyster reefs provide required habitat for shrimp, blue crab, flounder, and red drum. Recycling of shell ensures we get to continue our traditional oyster roasts with loved ones, a tradition and cultural heritage dating back 4,000 years ago to indigenous Americans. Please do your part to protect this resource by recycling your shell!

Ask your county staff and elected officials to host more recycling bins in the community and encourage your favorite seafood restaurant to do their part by participating in the SCORE program.


Upcoming Events

Thursday, November 16
Grand Strand Chapter of SC Native Plant Society Meeting
6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Coastal Carolina University, 301 Allied Dr., Conway or online via ZOOM
Come meet members of SCNPS and native plant enthusiasts from across the Grand Strand! Hear about chapter updates, plant of the month, and ways to get involved. Register here.

Monday, November 27
Myrtle Beach Green Drinks
5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Tidal Creek Brewhouse, 3421 Knoles St., Myrtle Beach
November’s host is FLOB (Friends of Lewis Ocean Bay). Learn about upcoming nature walks and service opportunities at Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve with friends and enjoy food, drink, and FLOB-related trivia.

Sunday, December 10
Trash Free Winyah – Jingle Clean
7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m., Hobcaw Barony, 22 Hobcaw Rd., Georgetown
Trash-Free Winyah is an effort organized by the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Keep It Green Pawley’s Island, and Georgetown County to keep litter our of North Inlet and Winyah Bay by engaging volunteers in clean-ups and data collection. Participants in highway clean-ups must be at least 18 years old. Gloves, trash pickers, safety vest and snacks will be provided. Register here.


County Government Meetings

Thursday, November 16 at 5:30 p.m.
Georgetown Planning Commission
129 Screven Street, Georgetown
Find more information here.

Thursday, November 30 at 3:00 p.m.
Horry County Planning Commission Workshop 
Horry County Government & Justice Center, 1301 2nd Avenue, Conway
Find more information here.

Thursday, December 7 at 5:30 p.m.
Horry County Planning Commission
Horry County Government & Justice Center, 1301 2nd Avenue, Conway
Find more information here.

Tuesday, December 12 at 6:00 p.m.
Horry County Council
Horry County Government & Justice Center, 1301 2nd Avenue, Conway
Find more information here.

Tuesday, December 12 at 5:30 p.m. 
Georgetown County Council – Coastal Conservation League will be the nonprofit spotlight!
129 Screven Street, Georgetown
Find more information here.

As always, we welcome your thoughts on how we can work together to enhance conservation on the North Coast. You can reach me [email protected] and Becky Ryon at [email protected].

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[email protected] · 843.723.8035

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