Abridged Environmental Committee Minutes for November 14, 2017

Michael Orris noted the Kiawah Island Environmental Committee website has been improved. It contains links to many topics of coastal interest, such as sea level rise. Mr. Orris suggested that perhaps the two committees should have an occasional joint meeting, as our concerns are similar.

Steve Hirsch reports that SIPOA gave Priority One an opportunity to pick up yard debris on one Monday last month. They did well during this test, did not miss any streets and were able to collect all the yard waste with one truck. The Greenery has been offering this service and it has been found to be inefficient. Debris is handled 4 different times before leaving Seabrook Island. Priority One uses a compactor truck and debris is only handled once before taken away. This additional service would not cost more than using the services of The Greenery, this based on extending Priority One’s contract from 3 to 5 years. As the matter was discussed it was pointed out that The Greenery has been doing a good job of collecting debris immediately after a major storm; Priority One would not be able to collect until the usual day of service. It will be possible to contract with The Greenery for these occasional events. Mr. Hirsch filed a motion to extend the contract to Priority One to collect yard debris, which was approved by members of the committee. After a comment at the November 10 Board Meeting, members investigated Charleston County’s Recycling procedures. The recycling materials are handled appropriately and not sent to another state’s or country’s landfills. Facts can be published to assure property owners that recycling procedures are as expected.

Steve Hirsch proposed that The Greenery add a vegetated buffer between the oak bed in front of the Lake House and Seabrook Island Road. After a heavy rain, sand and mulch washes onto the road and must be removed. The proposal is to have The Greenery perform some regrading in this area and plant Breeze Grass, and there will also be some irrigation added to the area. There are some funds left in this year’s Landscape Median Budget or the costs can be budgeted for next year. The committee approved this proposal.

Wildlife mapping shows that the Bobcats are back. If they act as expected, the four large turkey flocks, each with 9 to 12 turkeys, should thin.

The nature trails and conservancy lots will be audited in the next month as the weather cools. Bobcat Trail will soon need improvements. The cost will be expensive. There has been a study to see if it is plausible to have part of the trail at ground level, with a natural covering; the rest above ground boardwalk. This is still an expensive proposition. The GMOC would like to include the cost in the annual survey to see if residents would approve of this expense in the 2019 budget.

Barry Shedrow reported that he has been monitoring the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) website and that the EIS process for leasing Atlantic offshore areas for oil and gas development has not been initiated.  It is anticipated that preparation of the required EIS will begin in early 2018.  Barry will continue to monitor developments.  Michael Orris reiterated that a survey conducted last year demonstrated that a majority of property owners were opposed to offshore oil and gas exploration and development.  Based on this survey, the Town of Seabrook Island sent a letter to the federal government expressing the community’s opposition to the proposed action.

This year The Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol located 70 nests.  Of these nests, 57 (81.4%) were relocated by the direction of the SCDNR to avoid being covered by high tides. The state average for relocated nests is 27.7%. It seems that our efforts to relocate nests in risky sites pays off. The 2017 SBI nest success was 94.2% compared to the SC total of 59.2%. This year 8373 eggs were laid on Seabrook Island, 143 eggs were lost, 6037 eggs hatched, 5508 hatchlings emerged without assistance. It was noticed that the seasons are trending earlier in the year and at this time there is no verifiable reason for this. Perhaps it is global warming and how will that effect the future sea turtle population?

A formal request to renew our SCDOT  two year contract for highway litter removal was presented to the Board and signed off.

There will be no more SIPOA staff hedging around ponds, large view windows will be trimmed three times per year. A request was made to remove debris at the intersection of The Haulover and Cat Tail Pond.

$25,000 for a new Garden Fence is in the draft of the 2018 budget.

-Submitted by Lucy Hoover

Comments or questions should be directed to publiccomment@sipoa.org.

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