Thursday, July 6, 2023 Blog · News

Faith’s Focus: Notes from the Coastal Plain

by Lily Abromeit

By Faith Rivers James, Executive Director

In less than a month, I will celebrate my one-year anniversary as Executive Director of the Coastal Conservation League. What a year it has been! We’ve continued to make a significant impact on the future of our coast, and I have been honored to be a part of the work this year. Just in the last few months, we’ve advocated for and supported citizens seeking to protect their neighborhood communities on St. Helena Island and Union Pier. We’ve advocated for the Venus Flytrap to be designated as the state’s official carnivorous plant, seen historic limitations put into place for horseshoe crab harvesting that will protect threatened shorebirds and launched the South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative Conservation Plan with public and private partners across the coast.

Read on for additional highlights from the last couple of months.

As always, we thank you for your continued involvement and engagement in protecting the South Carolina coast.

A Victory for Union Pier! 

Earlier this summer, the South Carolina Ports Authority and city leaders announced they will provide an opportunity for Charleston residents to engage in a collaborative, community-led visioning process to shape the future of Union Pier.

Standing on the pier during the press conference where this change in course was announced, I was once again struck by the beautiful waterfront views from this site. It truly is a remarkable opportunity to open the waterfront to all of us, and I am relieved to know that the Charleston community will all have a chance to be part of deciding how that happens.

This is a critical moment for Charleston in demonstrating the power people can have by working together and advocating for the betterment of our community. Thank you for showing up for a truly resilient and inclusive Union Pier.

As we gear up for the next opportunity to stay engaged, read up on the history of Union Pier here.

Protect St. Helena

In the South Coast, the St. Helena community and county leaders continued to vehemently uphold the original vision for St Helena and the surrounding sea islands: that gated communities, resorts, and golf courses do not belong.

The longstanding Cultural Protective Overlay (CPO) protects the community from gentrification through development practices deemed incompatible by the community. Despite these protections, a developer has tried since November 2022 to build a luxury, gated golf resort on the 502-acre Pine Island/St. Helenaville property on St. Helena Island.

In June, both the Beaufort County Planning Commission and Beaufort County Council rejected the developer’s requests to circumvent St. Helena’s CPO zoning law, meaning the CPO will remain in its entirety across the property.

This is a huge win: recognizing the vision the community has for their land and setting an important precedent for preventing future incompatible development.

Get contact information for council members at and thank them for standing with St. Helena community.

Stand up for South Carolina’s Venus Flytraps, Red–Cockaded Woodpeckers, and Coastal Black Bears 

Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve is a natural treasure of South Carolina. It is home to many rare, threatened, and endangered species, including black bears, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and the state’s most stable population of Venus flytraps.

This biologically diverse ecosystem requires regular prescribed fire to maintain the habitat and reduce the brush that could fuel wildfires. Without regular burns, these fire-dependent species could be lost forever, and the risk of wildfire grows.

Conway Medical Center (CMC) is proposing to build a new hospital directly adjacent to Lewis Ocean Bay. Hospitals are smoke-sensitive areas and, rightfully so, government regulations limit sending smoke from a prescribed burn in the direction of a hospital. Siting the hospital here would limit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and South Carolina Forestry Commission in their prescribed burning capabilities – which are crucial to the stability of the preserve’s ecosystem.

Stand up for this treasure by signing a petition asking CMC to find a different location for their new hospital.

For more information on this important habitat and the threats facing it, visit our website.

Contact Us

[email protected] · 843.723.8035

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