Sunday, April 19, 2015 Blog

Peril on the Edge

by Andy Hollis

This week’s theme is edges. The first article, by Sammy Fretwell with The State, describes the threat to the edge of the Francis Beidler Audubon Sanctuary at Four Hole Swamp from the expansion of a solid waste landfill. Waste Management received a permit to fill 14 acres of wetlands in the Four Hole drainage to increase the capacity of their facility. The law regarding wetland fill establishes an extremely high standard for approval in these circumstances. We are convinced that the current project does not meet that standard. (PS Please pardon the strange formatting. There are some inexplicable and unremovable lines.)

The second article, by Bo Petersen with the Post and Courier, reports that red knots, one of the most beautiful and athletic of all shorebirds, have arrived in South Carolina. These birds were recently declared endangered, having experienced a 75% decline in population over the past few decades. They feed on the edge of the beach, in synchronization with horseshoe crab egg laying. Horseshoe crabs are also in decline because of over-harvesting. Fishermen use them as bait and medical laboratory employ their blood for diagnostic drugs.

And speaking of the edge of the beach, the fourth article, (I realize they are out of order), also by Sammy Fretwell with The State, is a follow up to the good news about the protection of the 1,200 acre Prince George tract below Pawley’s Island. The still anonymous conservation buyers and the University of South Carolina Foundation have crafted a wonderful future for this extraordinarily important piece of land, stretching between the Waccamaw River and the ocean.

And finally — regarding another edge in jeopardy — Georgetown has become the ninth city in South Carolina to pass a resolution against offshore oil exploration. The city council voted unanimously to reject the proposition that seismic testing and oil extraction will bring economic prosperity to South Carolina at an acceptably low environmental cost. Mayor Jack Scoville explains the town’s rationale in the South Strand News.

Have a wonderful week!

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