The town of Bluffton proposes to build a marina-sized dock complex to replace the current dock at the end of Calhoun Street in Old Town Bluffton. The present dock with floating docks is in good repair, functional, and more than adequate for Old Town.
Demolition of the present dock will be extremely expensive, and is totally unnecessary. The town-proposed dock complex will be in the most narrow part of the river because of an expanding mud bank. This will create dangerous navigational issues with the many more, and larger boats.
The town is trying to attract large, commercial tour boats to the narrow May River, which will create additional hazardous conditions.
A major objection to this massive dock structure is the huge, negative impact on oyster beds. Preservation of these beds is of paramount importance. Bagged oyster shell recycling to create reefs must be done soon, as has been done recently by Dataw and Page islands.
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Much of the pollutants of the river are filtered out by the oysters, and erosion is kept to a minimum by the oyster reefs. The greatly increased boat traffic from the large dock, and almost commercial-sized floating docks will cause much greater wake damage to oyster beds, and greater erosion of the banks.
Jean Ribaut in 1562 sailed into this river of high bluffs. He proclaimed, “La Belle Riviere de Mai!”
Much later, Pat Conroy said, “If given enough time, people will kill it.”
Louis D. Rhodes Jr.
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