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2022 Waccamaw Conference

We hosted a week of activities during the 2022 Waccamaw Conference from March 20 through March 26. Our theme this year was CWA@50: 50 years of the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act is a federal policy to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution in our waterways. Since 1972, the Act has restricted pollution entering our waterways to ensure fishable, swimmable, and drinkable water. After 50 years, we celebrate our accomplishments, review the current state of our waters, and determine the next steps to protect clean water in our watershed.

The Conference featured virtual events, a keynote speaker presentation, outdoor activities, and interactive competitions. We hope you joined us during the week of World Water Day in exploring how the Clean Water Act has impacted our waterways over the past 50 years and what can be done to continue our clean water legacy on the Waccamaw. Check out all the events and competitions below to see how the Waccamaw Conference went this year. We had a blast and we hope you did, too! Thank you to everyone who participated!

The Waccamaw Conference is an annual educational conference for the public focused on the importance of our natural water resources and efforts to protect them. The 2022 conference is co-hosted by the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® Program of Winyah Rivers Alliance, North Inlet – Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Waccamaw Watershed Academy. This FREE community conference is open to all and we hope you will join us for this celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. 


Week of Events

Jump Into Clean Water

Over The Hill Virtual Discussion

World Water Day Green Drinks

Water Quality Monitoring Open House

Get Your ACT Together Thursday

CWA: Past, Present, & Future Keynote Presentation

Waccamaw Watershed Wide Cleanup

Interactive Competitions

Student Science Poster & Art Contest

50 ACTions Challenge

CWA@50 BioBlitz


Jump Into Clean Water

Outdoor event at Conway Marina on Sunday March 20th at 12 – 3 pm

We made a big splash at our Jump Into Clean Water! We had exhibitors from Waccamaw Audubon, Chirping Birds, Coastal Conservation League, Winyah Rivers Alliance, North Inlet – Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Waccamaw Watershed Academy at the Conway Marina to talk about how they are protecting clean water for everyone in the Waccamaw River watershed!

Students from Horry County Schools Early College High School collected trash around the Marina. They collected more than 200 pounds of trash from the area including a boombox, microwave, and hundreds of cigarette butts.

Thank you to everyone who participated and made a huge splash with us to kick off the 2022 Waccamaw Conference!


Over The Hill

Virtual event on Monday March 21st at 2 – 3 pm via Zoom Webinar

We hosted a virtual discussion about the efficacy of the Clean Water Act. At 50 years, the Clean Water Act has helped to protect clean water throughout the nation. But there is more left to do! Our panel will discuss whether the Clean Water Act is over the hill and how you can help to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution in our waterways. 

In the past 50 years, the Clean Water Act has helped to protect clean water throughout the nation. This landmark environmental legislation has been especially successful at reducing pollution from point sources. We have come far since the days of rivers catching fire. But is there more to do? Looking back on the past five decades of progress, this discussion poses the question, “Is the Clean Water Act over the hill?” We discussed the successes and failures of the Clean Water Act and where we go from here.

View the discussion on YouTube here!

Discussion Panelists

Our panel included experts from the federal, state, and regional arenas of clean water protection. Our panelists use the Clean Water Act to help protect the waterways we love. They each offer a unique perspective on the Clean Water Act’s strengths and weaknesses and how we can leverage it to protect the Waccamaw River.

Kelly Hunter Foster is an environmental attorney and advocate with more than 20 years of regulatory and litigation experience with all major federal and many state environmental laws, including administrative, civil, and criminal case in both state and federal courts. She joined Waterkeeper Alliance as Senior Attorney in December 2010 and currently manages Waterkeeper Alliance’s Clean Water Defense and National Pure Farms, Pure Waters campaigns.

Kelly Hunter Foster, Senior Attorney at Waterkeeper Alliance
Peter Raabe, Southeast Region Director at American Rivers

Peter Raabe supports the American Rivers team across the southeast as the region’s director. He focuses on state level policy in the areas of water quality and quantity, climate adaptation, and restoring natural function to rivers. His work advocates for more
natural solutions to manage polluted stormwater run-off and using the limited clean water available in the most efficient way practicable. He leads American Rivers work in the Cape Fear and Neuse-Tar watersheds of North Carolina and is a lobbyist at the NC General Assembly.

Peter joined American Rivers in September 2001 in their Washington, DC headquarters and he moved to North Carolina in 2007. He is on the board of directors of the Cape Fear River Assembly and the Eno River Association.He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 2000 with a B.A. in American Government and Environmental Studies specializing in watershed restoration.

Zach Bjur is the Land, Water, Ocean Project Manager for Conservation Voters of South Carolina. He grew up in the South Carolina Lowcountry and his passion for conservation was born in South Carolina’s salt marshes and maritime forests. He graduated from the College of Charleston with degrees in Biology and Political Science. He has worked for Organizing for America and the SC Department of Natural Resources. Zach’s latest project, Apparent Winds, was a global sailing journey documenting responses to climate change around the world. He is now back in Charleston with a new found appreciation for our state’s wealth of natural beauty.

Zach Bjur, Land, Water, Ocean Project Manager for Conservation Voters of South Carolina

World Water Day Green Drinks

Happy Hour event at Crooked Hammock Brewery on Tuesday March 22nd at 5:30 – 7:30 pm

We teamed up with Myrtle Beach Green Drinks to celebrate World Water Day! After all, you can’t have great drinks without clean water! Green Drinks is a social event for anyone interested in being a little more green. ​​Each month, a different local environmental organization will share how they are serving the Grand Strand through education, advocacy, and community outreach. Let’s toast the coast! 

We want to thank Crooked Hammock Brewery in Barefoot Landing for Green Drinks! Crooked Hammock Brewery for partnering up to host Green Drinks to celebrate World Water Day. We had a great time at Crooked Hammock and are grateful to them for allowing us to share their space for the event. Be sure to check them out!

We toasted the coast on World Water Day and Myrtle Beach Green Drinks will continue to toast the coast throughout the year! Be sure to follow Myrtle Beach Green Drinks on Facebook and join us at future events!


Water Quality Monitoring Open House

Outdoor events throughout the watershed on Wednesday March 23rd at 9 am – 12 pm

Water quality monitoring is an important part of protecting clean water. There are several water quality monitoring programs operating in the Waccamaw River watershed and we are always looking for volunteers! We hosted three Water Quality Monitoring Open Houses throughout the watershed to learn about the Waccamaw Watershed Academy’s Waccamaw Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program, Winyah Rivers’ Carolina Blue Stewards Youth Water Monitoring Program, and South Carolina’s Adopt-a-Stream Program. Staff and volunteers were on site at Lake Waccamaw Dam, Conway Riverfront, and East Bay Park to demonstrate these monitoring programs and provide information about how you can get involved! 

Find the site near you on our map below.

You can still explore our volunteer monitoring programs and get involved. Be sure to check out all the great programs in our area and find the best one for you!


Get Your ACT Together Thursday

Virtual event on Thursday March 24th

Did you participate in our 50 ACTions Challenge? The Waccamaw Riverkeeper explored some of these ACTions during Get Your ACT Together Thursday and helped protect clean water! Check out the Facebook Live videos she posted throughout the day on the Winyah Rivers Alliance Facebook Page! All the videos on the 50’s are linked in the list below!

Check out the section on the 50 ACTions Challenge to find more resources and information about how you can ACT to protect clean water in the Waccamaw River watershed and beyond!


CWA: Past, Present, & Future

Keynote presentation at Horry County Museum on Friday March 25th at 1 pm – 2 pm

Our keynote presentation was hosted at the Horry County Museum and virtually. CWA: Past, Present, & Future, from Amy Armstrong was an excellent presentation on the history of the Clean Water Act and where we can go from here. You can view the Keynote Presentation on our YouTube page here!

Keynote Presentation Synopsis

It seems impossible to imagine today, but before the Clean Water Act, pollution discharges could get so bad that a river could catch on fire. In this session, SCELP Executive Director Amy Armstrong will talk about how this landmark law became a crucial legal tool to address water pollution and destruction across the county, including our very own Waccamaw River. However, 50 years after the inception of the Clean Water Act, our lakes, rivers and wetlands remain under threat due to legislative rollbacks, unrelenting development interests and climate change. Learn how you can take action to protect your waters and your community.

Speaker Biography

Amy Armstrong is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP), a nonprofit environmental law organization. She started working for SCELP in September 2002, after receiving a competitive two-year fellowship from Equal Justice Works, formerly the National Association of Public Interest Law.

Amy Armstrong, Executive Director of South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Once her fellowship ended, she become a staff attorney at SCELP, a position she held for over eight years until the untimely death of SCELP’s founder, Jimmy Chandler. Amy graduated from University of South Carolina in May, 2002, with a Juris Doctor and Master’s in Earth and Environmental Resource Management. She is a Liberty Fellow and also served as a municipal court judge for the City of Georgetown. Amy received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan in 1992. Before attending law school, she worked with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, managing a population of federally endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.


Waccamaw Watershed Wide Cleanup Day

Outdoor event throughout Waccamaw Watershed on Saturday March 26th

We are still adding up the totals from our Watershed Wide Cleanup! We had volunteers throughout the watershed cleaning up on March 26th to wrap up our Waccamaw Conference! Trash is a major polluter in our waterways that is not regulated through the Clean Water Act. Not only does it look ugly, trash can also pose a major health risk to animals and humans. By helping clean up our waterways and landings, you can help protect clean water!

During your cleanup, our volunteers inventoried their trash using this Cleanup Data Sheet and then reported their data online using the Waccamaw Watershed Wide Litter Inventory Report Form. These cleanup data help us to better understand the trash stream and develop methods for reducing trash in our waterways!

Check out our map below for information about the cleanups we had scheduled!

You can always contact the Waccamaw Riverkeeper at riverkeeper@winyahrivers.org to host your own cleanup anytime during the year!

Public Cleanups You Can Join!

Chris Anderson Landing – March 23

Waccamaw Volunteer Water Quality Monitors will be cleaning up after they sample water quality on Wednesday March 23rd at 9 am. Come out and join them in their efforts to keep the river clean! They will have supplies for cleaning up around the landing! 

East Bay Park – March 25

Join adopters Flash and Fancy in a cleanup celebrating 50 years of the Clean Water Act. Since 1972, the CWA has restricted pollution entering our waterways to ensure fishable, swimmable, and drinkable water. They will be cleaning up on Friday March 25th from 9 am – 12 pm.  Grippers, gloves, and bags will be provided. More information about the cleanup can be found on the Facebook Event Page.

Reaves Ferry Landing – March 26

The Environmental Quality Lab at CCU will be hosting a cleanup on March 26th from 9 am – 12 pm. They will have all the supplies you need! If you want to cleanup by water, please bring your own boat! Contact Victoria Green (vgreen@coastal.edu) for more information. 

J. Todd Landing  – March 26

Join adopters Gator Bait Adventure Tours as they celebrate 50 years of the Clean Water Act and help keep our Waccamaw clean! They’ll be launching from J. Todd Landing off Jacksons Bluff Rd and paddling about 2-3 miles, cleaning up as we go. They’ll supply everything, kayaks & cleanup supplies provided. There is a limit of 8 loaner kayaks for this event, so sign up to save your space. Sign up here to reserve your kayak on Gator Bait’s Webpage! You can also join with your own boat! Just dress for the weather, bring sunscreen, drinking water and a hat! More information about the cleanup can be found on the Facebook Event Page.

Conway City Marina – March 26

Come find the Waccamaw Riverkeeper table during the Waccamaw Sportsman Expo on March 26th to collect your cleanup supplies! We will be at the event from 10 am to 6 pm. Stop by and grab a grabber and a bag and help us keep the area clean for everyone to enjoy! More information about the event can be found on the Waccamaw Sportmen’s Expo Facebook Event page.


Student Science Poster & Art Contest

We have more than 100 students (K-12th and post-secondary) enter a science poster or artwork that focuses on their individual interpretation of the Clean Water Act. Students could choose to enter something that has already been developed or create an entirely new science poster or artwork. Creativity is always welcome! 

One 1st place award was given to the winner of each age group (K – 3rd grade, 4th – 5th grade, and 9th -12th grade) in both the science and art categories and one poster was selected as the People’s Choice!

We want to congratulate all of our winners of the 2022 Waccamaw Student Science Poster & Art Contest!

Visit our Facebook 2022 Waccamaw Conference Student Science Poster & Art Contest photo gallery to see all the incredible entries from our students throughout the Waccamaw River watershed! We want to thank each and every student for their awesome entries!


50 ACTions Challenge

Did you take the 50 ACTions Challenge! During our countdown of the 50 days to the 2022 Waccamaw Conference we encouraged you to ACT! Each challenge is a way you can ACT to protect clean water in the Waccamaw River watershed. The challenges are from three levels of difficulty: easy, medium, and hard. Checkout and print our entire 50 ACTions Challenge Checklist

We want to congratulate Victoria Green for being our 50 ACTions Challenge winner! Victoria completed 21 of the 50 ACTions during the Waccamaw Conference! Way to go, Victoria!

You can still participate in the 50 ACTions Challenge! We need you to ACT to protect clean water every day of the year!


CWA@50 BioBlitz

Our CWA@50 BioBlitz during the 2022 Waccamaw Conference was a hit! The event collected observations throughout the Waccamaw River watershed to help us better understand our environment and how clean water supports all these amazing plants and animals!

12 observers participated in the CWA@50 BioBlitz collected 172 observations of 83 species! We had two award-winning observers during the CWA@50 BioBlitz. We want to congratulate Jane Ochsenbein for her 30 observations of 11 different species for being our top participant! We also want to congratulate Colin Cody for his exceptional observations made during his BioBlitz led by his teacher, Mrs. Annie Johnson at the Academy of Arts, Science, and Technology.

Thank you to all of our observers who participated in this event! We are so grateful and excited to see so many people participating in the project! Visit our 2022 CWA@50 BioBlitz Project page on iNaturalist to see all the amazing observations made during the project! iNaturalist is a great way to learn more about the nature that surrounds you. Get out in nature, snap a picture, log your observations on iNaturalist, and learn about your environment!

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Winyah Rivers Alliance

P.O. Box 554
Conway, SC 29528
843 .349 .4007
winyahrivers@winyahrivers.org

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