SIPOA Environmental Committee Minutes – April Meeting

SIPOA’s  April 2018 Environmental Committee abridged meeting minutes are now available.

Abridged EC Minutes

April 10, 2018

John Wells, from the town of Seabrook Island, introduced the Seabrook Island Dolphin Education Program. Training for volunteers will begin at 10 am April 11 at Boardwalk 1. An additional program is scheduled for 3 pm on the same day at the Town Hall. At this time 12 to 14 people have shown an interest in participating. Philip Miller will act as the EC representative to the Dolphin Project. Volunteers will be on the beach two hours before and after each low tide, to watch for dolphin strand feeding. Their mission will be to monitor both dolphin and human behavior, take pictures and collect data. The Beach Patrol has been trained and has the authority to enforce town codes, including disturbing wildlife. The town feels that it is mandatory to comply with Federal Environmental Regulations. Not only is the protection of dolphins, shore birds and sea turtles important to the citizens of Seabrook Island; it will be imperative to be able to document that the island is environmentally compliant when it is again time to gain permits to move the inlet.

Philip Miller introduced an organization that promotes public support for a global network of marine protected areas. The organization is headed by Dr. Sylvia Earl, a world renowned environmentalist. Hope Spots are recognized by the organization. They are ocean areas outside of current marine protected areas. At this time there are three Hope Spots in the US East Coast, two in Florida and one in the Cape Hatteras area. Mr. Miller proposed that he fill out an application for Seabrook Island to become a candidate. The application would highlight our dolphin, shorebird and turtle protection programs and our status as an Audubon Sustainable Community. After a discussion it was moved and approved that the application process would begin. A positive effect could include worldwide social media recognition of Seabrook Island’s efforts to be good environmental stewards; drawing visitors who appreciate these efforts. 

During January’s cold weather approximately 1,000 tilapia were killed in Mallard Lake. Steve Hirsch proposed that the lake be restocked with 900 tilapia at a cost of $1305, which would come from the Lake Maintenance budget. Tilapia are good for algae control. When Mallard Lake has a sustainable population, there is no need for any other control for this pest. Tilapia are important to maintain an ecological balance in the Lake. There were no noticed tilapia killed in Palmetto Lake, Steve assumes this is happened because Palmetto Lake is deeper and has more water mass. A motion to fund this project was proposed and approved by the committee.

As of this writing, the draft 2019-2024 OCS Program Plan and associated draft Programmatic EIS are being prepared by the BOEM.  Widespread public opposition to the proposed action (i.e., offshore oil and gas resource exploration/development) has been expressed, including by the Town of Seabrook.  Publication of the draft Program Plan and PEIS documents is anticipated late this year or first quarter 2019.  At that time, opportunity for the public to review and comment on the draft documents will be provided by the BOEM.  Barry Shedrow will continue to monitor developments. 

Next month, the Garden Subcommittee will present and request approval of a revised agreement Seabrook Island residents must agree to adhere to be assigned a garden plot within the Community Gardens. 

EC member, Dick Wildermann attended a Living With Water Program held at the Dock Street Theater in early April. The program emphasizes that the water is rising and coastal communities need to learn to live with it. There will be dialogs within the next few months with the Dutch, who have long lived with and managed sea level rise. Seabrook and all entities regionally will need to be involved for any solutions to be effective. Dick will contact the GMOC, which has formed a sub committee to address the issue, to help coordinate any efforts to be made by SIPOA. 

Submitted by

Lucy Hoover

EC Communications


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