The history and future of Horry County are entwined with those of the Waccamaw River. Until the advent of bridges and paved roads in the 1930s, the Waccamaw was the major commercial transportation artery, making the river the center of business and residential life. In modern times, the river has evolved into a significant and unique commercial and recreational resource, supporting residential real estate development and ecotourism. The river is also a source of drinking water and a federally permitted receiving body for treated effluent. It is part of a vast watershed that controls water drainage and purity over two counties in North Carolina and two counties in South Carolina. Maintaining these often-conflicting functions will be central to enabling development and to sustaining the quality of life that stimulates development.
The Waccamaw River is arguably the most significant body of water affecting the history and future of the region. Today the Conway Riverwalk attracts residents and visitors to a thriving commercial center with shops and restaurants, a park and marina, while the banks of the Waccamaw - from Winyah Bay to Lake Waccamaw in North Carolina - are experiencing unparalleled growth at the edge of a significant freshwater source for thousands of citizens.
Polluted stormwater runoff from commercial and residential properties, changes in hydrology caused by ditching and draining wetlands, and the loss of pervious surfaces threaten the future of the Waccamaw and everything along its banks. Maintaining a clean, navigable river is essential for the health and welfare of future generations and for the pleasure of those who enjoy hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, hiking and birding. In many ways, the future of the Waccamaw defines the future quality of life for its residents and visitors. As I will describe, our collective efforts will be needed to solve our current problems and minimize future ones.
Coastal Carolina University--Periodicals;Lecture--Series;Waccamaw River (N.C. and S.C.);Water quality management--South Carolina;Watershed management;Libes, Susan M.
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Additional files include a printed speech and flyer
Libes, Susan M., "Why We Should All Be Waccamaw Waterwatchers" (2003). HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecture Series. 9.