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Latest News in West Ashley, SC
West Ashley neighbors concerned about flooding almost entering their homes
WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCSC) - Neighbors in a West Ashley community say they are frustrated and anxious after floodwater crept up to their homes, and a potential solution could be a few years away.Bennett Barton and Rachel Brunette said Thursday’s rainstorms flooded both the road and their backyards, almost getting into their houses. They said as cars passed by, the wake would go up and slap against their front doors.“This is my first house; I didn’t know what to expect,” Barton said. “I started panick...
WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCSC) - Neighbors in a West Ashley community say they are frustrated and anxious after floodwater crept up to their homes, and a potential solution could be a few years away.
Bennett Barton and Rachel Brunette said Thursday’s rainstorms flooded both the road and their backyards, almost getting into their houses. They said as cars passed by, the wake would go up and slap against their front doors.
“This is my first house; I didn’t know what to expect,” Barton said. “I started panicking. I couldn’t leave to get sandbags or any preventative measures because the road was flooded, too.”
They said as cars passed by, the wake would go up and slap against their front doors.
“At one point, I even got pitchers and just was pouring them into my sink from my screened-in porch,” Barton said. Didn’t do anything, but it made me ease my mind a little bit.”
The Woodlands neighborhood is part of the Dupont Wappoo Watershed, which consists of around 1,000 acres of West Ashley surrounding the Citadel Mall.
The City of Charleston said they are spending $5 million on four out of the 10 scheduled projects to improve downstream water flow under Interstate 526. Once that is done, the city will be increasing the size of pipes and canals near the Woodlands neighborhood to get the water out faster.
“There’s not a lot of elevation change to make that water flow very quickly,” Charleston Director of Stormwater Management Matthew Fountain said, “so those very small ditches don’t work for how much pavement, how many buildings we have in the basin now.”
Brunette said it is not uncommon for her to have to check the weather radar before she leaves for work.
“So, when I’m away for the day, I have to be prepared that whether my windows are open, whether the dog is in or out, and like you said if the vehicle is in the right place in case it does flood,” Brunette said. “There’s been a couple of cars that have been flooded out. The landscaping, you can’t keep decent landscaping. It washes away.”
The city said they are optimistic construction on the projects will start in 2025, but until then, Barton said his anxiety will continue.
“If it had rained for two more hours or it was going into high tide, I think my living room would have been underwater,” Barton said. “Who knows how much that would have cost?”
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
SCDNR awarded $1.5 million to restore West Ashley tidal marsh
SCDNR NewsCHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C.Last week, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was awarded $1.5 million to work with partners and volunteers in the Charleston area to restore seven acres of degraded salt marsh in a historically important area. The project will unfold over four years and use volunteers to plant salt marsh grasses and construct oyster reefs through SCDNR’s South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement (SCORE) Program."We’re ecstatic to receive fun...
CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C.
Last week, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was awarded $1.5 million to work with partners and volunteers in the Charleston area to restore seven acres of degraded salt marsh in a historically important area. The project will unfold over four years and use volunteers to plant salt marsh grasses and construct oyster reefs through SCDNR’s South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement (SCORE) Program.
"We’re ecstatic to receive funding for this project," said Michael Hodges, SCDNR shellfish biologist and lead on the project. "We’re excited that we will get to involve so many volunteers and partners in the project’s implementation. This will be a unique project, using novel, nature-based solutions to restore the degraded tidal marsh in this historically significant part of the Lowcountry."
Granted by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the National Coastal Resilience Fund, the award is one of eight funded across the country and represents a continuation of federally funded work on Old Towne Creek in West Ashley. Phase one of the project, led by the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), involved developing engineering and design plans for coastal marshes in West Ashley. A team led by Dr. Joel E. Kostka, Professor and Associate Chair for Research in the Schools of Biological Sciences and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at GT, will lead post-restoration monitoring and quantify habitat improvements as well as collaborate with SCDNR to train volunteers and citizen scientists. Other partners in this phase of the project will include Robinson Design Engineers and the South Carolina Aquarium.
"This project is a win-win for the Charleston area as it will restore critical wildlife habitat while strengthening the resilience of the coastline to damage from storms and erosion made worse by climate change," said Dr. Kostka. "We at Georgia Tech are excited to participate in the project, in particular to leverage science to develop metrics and improve strategies that will ensure the success of nature-based restoration activities across the U.S."
The restoration site is in what was formerly Maryville, a small town with an important role in Charleston’s history. Chartered and settled in 1886, Maryville was one of the area’s most prominent settlement communities – self-sustaining, all-Black communities that offered the region’s formerly enslaved population safer places to buy land, raise families, and pursue farming or trades in the Jim Crow-era South.
Despite later annexation by the city of Charleston and rapid development of surrounding West Ashley, the area is still known to some locals – including descendants of the town’s founders – as Maryville.
Old Towne Creek is the tidal waterway that connects this area to the nearby Ashley River. In 1670, it saw the first English settlers arrive and establish ‘Charles Towne’ on its banks. Later, the fishermen of Maryville plied its waters for crab, oysters and fish. Today, the creek is popular among kayakers and birdwatchers. But like many urban waterways, Old Towne Creek and its surrounding marshes have degraded over time, particularly after a severe drought in 2012 and another salt marsh dieback event in 2016. Researchers have found that the salt marsh within the project area has not recovered naturally like other areas with similar conditions.
The recent $1.5 million in funding will allow for the restoration and monitoring of seven acres of degraded salt marsh through community-based restoration efforts. Members of the community and the Ashleyville-Maryville Neighborhood Association, who initially noticed that the marsh vegetation was dying back, participated in the initial site assessment and will now be engaged as volunteers in the restoration.
SCDNR biologists have been constructing ‘living shorelines’ – shorelines made of natural materials – for two decades, primarily using recycled oyster shells. These shells attract young oysters, which settle on the hard materials and collectively grow into reef structures that filter waterways, provide habitat for fish and buffer shorelines from erosion.
Please click here to sign up to receive updates about marsh restoration volunteer events.
For additional information, contact: Erin Weeks at (843) 729-3531 WeeksE@dnr.sc.gov
West Ashley family says neighborhood flooding getting worse
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Several inches of rain fell on Monday across the Lowcountry leaving extensive flooding behind. That led to major problems on roadways and properties taking a toll on drivers, homeowners, and business owners.The flooding impacts were felt in the City of Charleston, North Charleston, and more.For one West Ashley family, the flooding and frustration aren’t new.“It’s constantly getting worse,” said Matt Cody, a resident of Sandcroft Drive in West Ashley.Photos an...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Several inches of rain fell on Monday across the Lowcountry leaving extensive flooding behind. That led to major problems on roadways and properties taking a toll on drivers, homeowners, and business owners.
The flooding impacts were felt in the City of Charleston, North Charleston, and more.
For one West Ashley family, the flooding and frustration aren’t new.
“It’s constantly getting worse,” said Matt Cody, a resident of Sandcroft Drive in West Ashley.
Photos and videos show major flooding on their street Monday. Matt and his wife, Kelly, say it’s a problem they have been dealing with for over three years.
“The water can’t drain so we have standing water in our backyard constantly,” said Cody. “So, we have mosquitos, flooding, and any time it rains like this, it goes into our house, our garage…”
Cody says there is also water underneath the house that isn’t able to dry out.
The City of Charleston’s Stormwater Management Division has been involved and has completed some of the work that needs to be done to fix the problem including emergency ditch clearing and maintenance, heavy excavation work such as tree stump and root removal, cleaning of the roadside system, and more.
“We had the city come out about a year ago after multiple emails,” said Cody.
There’s a reason the problem isn’t being resolved and it’s a problem that the city says is out of their hands.
“Unfortunately I think what’s still leading to a lot of the flooding is we can only take those cleaning efforts up to the edge of what’s basically called the critical area or the marsh. Once you hit the marsh area, you have to get a separate set of permits,” said Matthew Fountain, Charleston’s Stormwater Management Director.
Those are federal permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state permits from the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Fountain says it can take years to get those permits because of a struggling permit processing system. However, the city has been working with federal and state agencies to streamline the process.
“The City of Charleston along with many other counties and cities along the entire coastal section of south Carolina have been working for probably the last five and a half years or so with the state, and the last few years with the corps, trying to come up with a more efficient permitting system to be able to address these,” said Fountain.
Over the last few years, some progress on that has been made and Fountain is hopeful that soon the permitting system will take closer to three to six months instead of two years.
He says the Cody’s neighborhood is one on the list that the city plans to hire a consultant to prepare the permit application, go through the permitting process, then, once approved, hire contractors to begin extensive and expensive work to clear out the marsh.
In the meantime, the Cody family is still frustrated by the, sometimes, lakefront property that they didn’t sign up for.
“We have to worry about cars coming through, our cars being flooded,” said Cody. With my four-month-old, if we can’t get out of our house, if emergency vehicles can’t get there, that’s a major issue.”
Fountain says across the city, several projects are underway that will significantly improve flooding.
In the City of North Charleston, major flooding was also seen on Monday. A spokesperson for the city says anytime there is heavy rainfall in a short amount of time, the drainage system can become overwhelmed but, in yesterday’s case, the water cleared out within a few hours.
Contaminated West Ashley pond sees significant improvement
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A West Ashley pond needing to be cleaned after a nearby restaurant dumped oil into a storm drain is improving significantly, according to City of Charleston leaders.“It was in very bad condition, but it is getting much, much more where we want to see it,” said Matt Fountain, Director of the Stormwater Management Department for the City of Charleston....
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A West Ashley pond needing to be cleaned after a nearby restaurant dumped oil into a storm drain is improving significantly, according to City of Charleston leaders.
“It was in very bad condition, but it is getting much, much more where we want to see it,” said Matt Fountain, Director of the Stormwater Management Department for the City of Charleston.
On Tuesday, the department met with the contractor hired by Rio Chico Mexican Restaurant for a status update.
“They’ve installed oil absorbent booms to make sure that they are not getting any additional spill that hasn’t been identified or there’s some other issue occurring, [and] replace the absorbing materials necessary,” Fountain said. “So, we’ll continue our inspection, probably on a weekly basis, to make sure all of that is happening.”
While the bulk of the work has already been handled, Fountain said a timeline of when normal conditions will return is a bit murky.
“The idea is to get the concentrations down to a low enough level so they are not causing any harm, and they can be handled by normal biodegradation. You just want the normal processes that would break down oil and the environment to do that,” he said.
The Carolina Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is now a temporary home to turtles and birds covered in thick layers of oil.
On Tuesday, more arrived.
“Ten turtles,” said Keenan Freitas, a staff rehabilitator with the center.
"Apparently, every time we get a transport in, they appear to be more and more oiled.”
Freitas said the facility is now caring for five birds and 45 turtles.
“Ideally, they go back into the pond, but we can’t do that,” he said. “They’re just going to be re-infected or contaminated. So that will be up to the state’s herpetologist where they want to put those turtles.”
When it comes to businesses putting anything in the storm drain that shouldn’t be there, city officials are offering a reminder:
“It’s always cheaper to do maintenance and do things correctly in the first place,” Fountain said. “Then they come back and try to hire a contractor and basically do emergency repair work. That’s a huge financial burden.”
Community meeting Saturday to discuss I-526 Lowcountry Corridor West project
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation is looking for the community’s input as developers continue to move forward with the I-526 Lowcountry Corridor West Project.There will be a community mitigation meeting in North Charleston Saturday where project directors will update the public on their plan and give them time to ask questions.According to the project’s ...
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation is looking for the community’s input as developers continue to move forward with the I-526 Lowcountry Corridor West Project.
There will be a community mitigation meeting in North Charleston Saturday where project directors will update the public on their plan and give them time to ask questions.
According to the project’s official website, it would span approximately 9.7 miles between Paul Cantrell Boulevard in West Ashley and Virginia Avenue in North Charleston.
Project Director Joy Riley says the purpose of the meeting is to update the public on the community mitigation plan. Riley says this is their way of creating benefits for the communities that will be directly impacted by the project.
Russelldale, Ferndale, Liberty Park and Highland Terrace are the communities that will be directly impacted. These are predominantly minority communities.
Riley says over the last three years they have been checking in with those communities and are trying to make sure the community mitigation plan addresses their concerns.
Residents have shared one of their biggest concerns is losing their homes due to the widening of the 526/I-26 interchange.
Riley says a lot of the programs in the community mitigation plan are focused on increasing things like generational wealth, building affordable housing, scholarships, and job training opportunities.
About 100 households will be torn down for this project. Riley says construction won’t get started until all residents have been relocated to replacement housing they are planning on building.
“We are planning on building 100 new apartment units that are affordable but also 45 single-family lots with single-family homes, and a first-time home buyer grant program that helps those folks that are low income,” Riley says.
Although widening the interstate will get rid of homes in the area, officials believe it will help limit travel times, congestion and more.
Devin Clark, a West Ashley resident, says he sees accidents all the time on the 526/I-26 interchange, and it often takes 20 minutes or more to go a few miles. Clark says he’s happy SCDOT is planning on doing something about it.
Saturday’s meeting starts at 10 a.m. at the Ferndale Community Center in North Charleston.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.