County, don't retreat on your 10 percent goal

newsroom@islandpacket.comApril 13, 2014 

Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it. I'm reminded of this quote as Beaufort County considers JAZ Development's request to exceed the 10 percent impervious surface goal at a planned Bluffton shopping center.

As part of the compilation of the Beaufort County Clean Water Task report, "A Blueprint for Clean Water," meant to help save our oyster beds in 1997, the task force spent more than a year consulting with coastal scientists about the latest tidal creek research available regarding stormwater runoff.

Without exception, including South Carolina's renowned Fred Holland, the tipping point for tidal creek degradation from excessive runoff was allowing more than 10 percent impervious surfaces. Equally forgotten by some is that due to the unique high salinity characteristics of our Port Royal Sound ecosystem and its role as a major spawning ground, fresh water, clean or not, is a pollutant. The task force also learned that our marine ecosystem is so special that we should not allow outside consultants to dictate its management. Even our own state agencies have learned new lessons here.

We have come so far in setting up an intelligent line of defense for our waters. We dissuaded Sembler, took Pinckney Point off the market and convinced other responsible developers of our wisdom and commitment.

Tell County Council not to slap them in the face and force the task force to bring Holland back for another lecture.

David Harter

Hilton Head Island

Editor's Note: Harter was a member of the Beaufort County Clean Water Task Force.

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