April 16, 2018 Press Release - Rocky Point Forest Steering Committee
Spawning Sturgeon Delay Boat Landing Construction at Rocky Point
Contact: Emma Boyer, Winyah Rivers Foundation, email@example.com, (914) 261-5026
After receiving notice from federal agencies, the groundbreaking on the construction of the boat landing and associated public event scheduled for April 5th was delayed as a precaution for the sturgeon spawning in the Black River. The groundbreaking event has been rescheduled for May 17th at 5pm. The grand opening will be announced thereafter.
Atlantic and Short nosed sturgeon are found in the Black River, the Pee Dee, and the Waccamaw. Both species are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The large migratory fish were nearly pushed to extinction by overfishing, and today are threatened by habitat degradation and destruction by dredging, water withdrawals, water channel impediments, and other development that harms their habitat. Last year a federal declaration listed the Black River as part of the critical habitat for sturgeon in South Carolina.
Rocky Point was owned by International Paper for years and was open to the public as a recreational site. The boat landing was one of the only public access points on this popular section of the Black River. People enjoyed swimming, boating, hiking, camping and cookouts. When the property was sold a decade ago the gates were closed, leaving a void for the surrounding community.
The members of the Rocky Point Community Forest Steering Committee (Winyah Rivers Foundation, Georgetown County Parks and Recreation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Open Space Institute and advisors from SC Department of Natural Resources, SC Forestry Commission, Sabine and Waters, and the Choppee Community) have worked diligently for several years on the acquisition, protection, and restoration of the property. The project is nearing a major milestone this summer when this cherished piece of land composed of forested wetlands, beautiful bluffs above the Black River, and ecologically and historically significant forests will be reopened to the public. Despite the delay, the committee is very excited to be reopening the gates and once again allowing everyone to enjoy all that Rocky Point has to offer, and maybe even get a very rare glimpse of a Sturgeon leaping clear out of the river.
Learn more about Rocky Point Community Forest here.
Follow the park’s progress on Facebook.
More information on our local sturgeon species can be found at the sites listed below: