January 18, 2018

South Santee Cedar Island Coastal Cleanup

On Saturday, September 10, 2016 a small group of volunteers went by boat (only access) to the South End of Cedar Island.  This area is a wildlife refuge and a critical sea turtle and shore bird nesting area.

The primary focus of this beach and coastal cleanup was to remove orphan crab traps.  During storms and floods the traps will get separated from mooring and washed downriver and onto beaches.   When free and loose, they have a tendency to roll like tumbleweed in the currents and tides.  Once ashore the orphan crab traps are dangerous obstacles that impair sea turtle hatchlings from getting out of their nest and to the sea increasing their chances of being eaten by predators such as crabs and sea birds.  If the orphaned crab trap end up directly  on top of a nest it can trap all of the hatchlings and kill off the entire nest.

While crab traps was our primary focus, we did bring back several burlap sacks of plastic bottles, styrofoam, beverage cans, mylar and latex balloons, and other trash items.    This loose trash was picked up just to tidy up this beautiful stretch of coastline a little.  This area needs a good coastal cleanup given the volume of trash and debris that remains.

A special thanks to David Frantz (davidjohnfrantz at gmail.com) of David Frantz Photography who did an excellent job of capturing the essence of this cleanup in pictures.

On October 3, 2016,South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR) used two boats and went to Cedar Island to retrieve the additional crab traps and trash we could not fit on our boats.  SC DNR will repurpose these orphan crab traps by coating them with a thin layer of cement to create a hard substrate for larval oysters to attach to and grow.  They will also close all of the funnels on the traps to make sure no animals or sea life gets trapped.  These traps will become a new oyster colony as SC DNR uses them in the construction of a new oyster bed.

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