Protect the Waccamaw by Cara Schildtknecht, Waccamaw Riverkeeper

The protection of Carolina Bays is a serious concern for the Waccamaw River Watershed under the proposed revised Clean Water Rule. Carolina Bays like Lake Waccamaw that have a clear connection to a navigable waterway are not at risk; however, the more typical geographically isolated Carolina Bays could be threatened.

The 23 Carolina Bays in the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve would not be protected under the revised Clean Water Rule due to a lack of significant nexus to a navigable waterway. While currently protected by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, we have seen the potential for impacts to these Carolina Bays through rezoning and development. Many Carolina Bays in our watershed have already been developed, filled, or mined for sand.

Lewis Ocean Bay’s Carolina Bays play a significant role in maintaining the treasured environment of the Heritage Preserve. It is one of the last remaining natural habitats for the Venus flytrap, a threatened species that may soon be added to the Endangered Species list. The bays also play a critical role in the life cycle of native amphibians and insects, serving as a nursery for their young.

That's why it's so important that we all speak up in defense of clean water and in opposition to the proposed revised Clean Water Rule.

Make your comment here by the April 15th deadline.