World Water Monitoring Day was established to create awareness about the importance of protecting water resources around the world by engaging people to monitor their local water bodies. Water monitoring kits can be ordered any time for purchase.
Do you like the outdoors and getting your feet wet in streams?
Would you like to learn first-hand about the water quality where you live?
Are you interested in citizen science?
If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, join the citizens of South Carolina who have been certified to monitor stream quality though the South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream program. Established in 2017, SC Adopt-a-Stream is an EPA-approved freshwater monitoring program that teaches volunteers how to collect bacteria, biological parameters, and chemical and physical data (including temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity).
SC Adopt-a-Stream has awarded 1,400 certifications to contribute to the program. Over 200 sites statewide have been identified within the program’s database. Volunteers can become certified to collect data by attending one of the free workshops offered around the state.
Founded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1988, National Estuaries Week is recognized every third week of September as an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of our estuaries and coasts.
Estuaries are important to our environment, because they house many species of fish, reptiles, mammals and other aquatic life. They provide nesting and feeding habitats for plants and animals. Estuaries also act as a pollutant shield by filtering sediments from rivers and streams before they flow into the oceans. According to the National Safety Council’s Environmental Center, estuaries provide habitat for more than 75 percent of the U.S. commercial fish catch, and even greater percentage of recreational fish catch. The total fish catch in estuaries contributes $4.3 billion a year to the U.S. economy.
DHEC manages development, alterations, and shoreline stabilization activities in coastal and estuarine “tidelands” (land at or below high tide including coastal wetlands, mudflats and similar areas adjacent to coastal waters and integral to estuarine systems).
Here are some ways to celebrate National Estuaries Week:
Organize a community restoration event at a local bay, riverfront, ocean, or waterway.
Find a reserve that offers tours of estuaries to learn more.
KINGSTREE, S.C. (The Kingstree News) On May 16, the Williamsburg County Emergency Management/E-911 Division (EMD) held an Earthquake Tabletop Exercise for Williamsburg County agencies who continually update preparedness in case such an event occurs. There is not a completely reliable method for predicting the time, place and size of an earthquake, especially since the majority of earthquakes occur in the Coastal Plain. Experts do agree that where earthquakes have occurred before, they can again. Therefore it is always important to be prepared.
ANDERSON, S.C. (Anderson Independent Mail) Over the past decade, Anderson County has consistently had more people getting cancer for the first time than the state and national average.
Anderson County is ranked eighth-highest out of the state’s 46 counties for incidences of all types of cancers, according to information provided by the State Department of Health and Environmental Control. Cancer was the leading cause of death in Anderson County, and the second in South Carolina, as of 2017.
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE-ABC) Bryan Rabon, DHEC’s manager of aquatic science programs, sat down with “Carolina This Week” host Trey Paul to talk about beach monitoring season and the purpose of swim advisories.
Did you know that cigarette litter is the most common type of marine debris found on South Carolina beaches? Cigarette butts are a toxic form of marine debris. Most cigarette filters are made of thin plastic fibers called cellulose acetate, a material that degrades very slowly. Plastics exposed to sunlight and waves break down into smaller and more numerous microplastics, which may never fully degrade in the marine environment. Birds, fish, and sea turtles may ingest cigarette butts or other plastic debris along the coast, which can lead to choking, poisoning, or blockage of the gut. Leaching of toxic materials from cigarette butts can also degrade water quality. Various metals, including lead and nickel, have been found to leach from smoked cigarettes within 24 hours, which may increase the risk of acute harm to local marine life. In a laboratory study, a concentration of one cigarette butt in one liter of water killed half of all fish exposed, within 96 hours!
In 2015, DHEC OCRM conducted a Cigarette Litter Reduction Pilot Study on Folly Beach in Charleston County. The project was funded by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and included partners from the Surfrider Foundation and Folly Green. The goal of the project was to reduce cigarette litter on Folly Beach by educating residents and visitors about the negative effects cigarette litter can have on the marine environment. Foldable paper ashtrays and flyers printed with educational information were distributed, and new cigarette receptacles were installed at several beach walkovers on Folly Beach. Small-scale monitoring events were designed to look at the amount of cigarette litter on the beach before and after project implementation. Results of the monitoring efforts found fewer cigarette butts in the study area after project implementation, suggesting this pilot project may have influenced human behavior.
Last year, DHEC’s project was replicated in the Grand Strand by the Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium (CWSEC). CWSEC and its partners took a watershed-based approach to enhance public awareness and promote proper disposal of cigarette butt litter at beach and river accesses in Horry and Georgetown Counties. Similar to the Folly Beach study, the Grand Strand Cigarette Litter Reduction project focused on public education, installation of new cigarette receptacles, and cigarette litter monitoring. Results of the project can found on the project website.