Great news! The US Department of the Interior has recognized the Waccamaw River as a National Water Trail!
The new National Water Trails System (NWTS) serves to bring existing and newly identified water trails together into one cohesive national network of exemplary water trails. The Waccamaw River Blue Trail joins a network of water trails the public can explore and enjoy.
Benefits include national promotion and visibility, positive economic impact from increased tourism, increased opportunities for outdoor recreation, increased collaboration for water resource protections, and a positive contribution to public health and our quality of life.
Thanks to all our partners and supporters who helped make the Waccamaw River Blue Trail a reality and now designated a National Water Trail!
Learn more about the National Water Trail designation.
Saturday, May 11th - RIVERKEEPER® Volunteer of the Year will host the annual river cleanup at Chris Anderson Landing at Highway 9 on the Waccamaw River, from 9 am to 12 pm followed by lunch for volunteers.
Please call the Riverkeeper at (843) 349-4007 to let us know you'll be there.
Saturday, April 20th - RIVERKEEPER® hosted river cleanup at Old Reaves Ferry Landing on the Waccamaw River, on Saturday, April 20th. We had a great turnout, especially from the Early College High School students and their teachers! Thanks to all who came out that day and who worked hard to pick up trash so that it won't sully our wonderful black water river!
March 23rd was a busy day. It started early with the Riverkeeper at Conway's Equinox Art & Music Fest and the Assistant Riverkeeper at Brookgreen Garden's Digging It event. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate but it did clear up that afternoon to enable us to join the Wellness Council for South Carolina at their Earth Hour event.
At 8:30 pm, for one hour, the electric lights were switched off at Riverfront Park while a few hardy paddlers joined us as we illuminated our kayaks with headlamps, luminaries, and glow sticks and completed our "kayak ballet", all in support of Earth House, the single largest symbolic mass participation event in the world, born out of a hope to mobilize people to take action on climate change and as a massive show of concern for the environment.
Thanks to our paddlers and to Kristi Falk with the Wellness Council for a fun evening!
There was plenty of food, fun and fellowship to go around on Saturday, March 9th when members and supporters enjoyed a beautiful late afternoon and evening at beautiful Hobcaw Barony. Originally the location of our biggest annual fundraiser until we outgrew Kiimbel Lodge, we have returned here every year since 2008 and, for the last few years, have enjoyed the Pond Shelter and the outdoor fire pit.
Our Georgetown County Board members really did themselves proud. Board members Richard Goldberg, Steve Strickland, and Walt Frank, assisted by Keith Errico, did the cooking, treating us to some lowcountry classics. Board member Dan Hitchcock, assisted by member Paul Kenny set up and tore down for us, and Board member Bob Moran tended the fire. In addition to these folks, we are very grateful to Dave Epstein and New South Brewing Company for their donation of beer for the enjoyment of our attendees.
All in all, it was a beautiful day, we had great food and libations, and raised some money to support our work towards fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for our families and our future! Thanks to all who participated!
Held on Saturday, January 19th at the HGTC Grand Strand Conference Center in Myrtle Beach, this year's Waccamaw Conference was co-hosted by the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and Winyah Master Naturalist Association. The conference theme, "The Only Constant is Change...an integrated look at coastal ecosystems", brought together speakers to help us learn more about our coastal ecosystems, evidence of past climate change, future predictions and how managing these changes will help to protect our natural resources. Speaker presentations are available below:
Conference Opening - Christine Ellis, Waccamaw Riverkeeper, and Peg Howell, Winyah Master Naturalist Association
Dr. Jenna C. Hill
Dr. Hill is Assistant Professor of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC. She holds a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego and a B.A. in Geology& Environmental Studies from Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH. Her doctoral dissertation was: “Continental margin architecture: Sea level and climate.” Her research Interests include Nearshore to outer continental shelf sedimentation, stratigraphy, tectonic processes, paleoclimate, relative sea level change, fluvial morphology and sedimentation, and onshore/offshore interactions.
Ice Scours off the Carolina Coast - Evidence of Past Climate Change
Dr. Susan M. Libes
Dr. Libes is a professor of marine science and chemistry at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, S.C. She is the Founding Director of CCU’s Waccamaw Watershed Academy which houses a state-certified Environmental Quality Laboratory. She is also a founding member of the Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium. From 1993 to 2000, she served as the chair of CCU’s marine science department. In 2003, she was named CCU’s Distinguished Teacher-Scholar. Her current research activities focus on eutrophication and hypoxia in fresh and marine waters and the use of watershed planning to improve water quality.
Dr. Jessica C. Whitehead
Dr. Whitehead became the Regional Climate Extension Specialist for the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium and North Carolina Sea Grant in August 2008. Her position is funded through a partnership between the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, North Carolina Sea Grant, and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessment Center (CISA), NOAA’s RISA program at the University of South Carolina. The purpose of her position is assist coastal users with integrating information about climate variability and change into their decision-making processes. Her work ranges from giving talks on climate science for community groups to working with scientists to develop decision support tools for local level climate change risk and adaptation. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the Pennsylvania State University (2009), where her dissertation focused on using mediated system dynamics modeling to build scenarios of small rural drinking water utilities' capacities to adapt to climate change. She also holds a MS in Meteorology from Penn State (2003) and a BS in Physics from the College of Charleston (2000).
SC's Coastal Hazards: Past & Future
Ms. Goffinet McLaren
Ms. McLaren’s journey to Litchfield Beach and her topic for today began some time ago when she was born in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. After a career on the flight crew with Aer Lingus Irish International Airways, she eventually landed in Greenville, SC, where she married and raised a family. Goffinet has contributed in many ways to the communities in which she has lived. In Greenville, she started a reading program for underserved children in Greenville, which was recognized in 1993 as the “volunteer program of the year” by the South Carolina Education Board. She also served as a volunteer and fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Since retiring to Litchfield Beach in 2006, Goffinet has been: Researching the devastating effects of plastic debris in the ocean; Leading the SCUTE (South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts) team at Litchfield by the Sea, and developing the “Plastic- free- Pawleys” project to encourage local shopkeepers to discontinue their use of plastic shopping bags.
Ms. Karen Fuss
Ms. Fuss has served as the Environmental Educator for the Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies at Coastal Carolina University since October 2005. Her major responsibilities include: Storm water and watershed education for municipal officials and staff, K-12th grade students and teachers, and local citizens; and Marine education and outreach for student and adult groups.Karen is also the Coordinator of the Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium. In this position, she is responsible for collaboration and facilitation among six core education providers who aid eight local municipalities in meeting federal stormwater requirements for public education, outreach and involvement. Karen earned a M.A. Ed. With Emphasis in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary in addition to a B.S. from William and Mary and an A.S. from Richard Bland College.
Ms. Christine Ellis
As the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER®, Ms. Ellis is responsible for educating and advocating for the protection of the Waccamaw River watershed in both North and South Carolina. In addition, as a part of the nonprofit organization, Winyah Rivers Foundation, she seeks to meet the Foundation’s mission to protect, preserve, monitor and revitalize the health of the lands and waters of the greater Winyah Bay watershed and, as such, watches over the other 4 rivers in our area. As the sole employee of Winyah Rivers Foundation, she seeks to engage citizens in this grassroots, local effort and encourages everyone to support our mission by becoming a member, participating in our events and volunteering with our programs. Ms. Ellis holds a BS in Zoology and an MS in Environmental Management, and has a lifelong passion for protecting our environment and our natural heritage.
Dr. Julinna Oxley
Dr. Julinna Oxley is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Coastal Carolina University. Her research focuses on issues in ethics and political philosophy, moral psychology, applied ethics, and feminism. Her book, Understanding Others: Empathy and Ethical Thought, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in early 2012. She is also co-director of the Jackson Family Center for Ethics and Values’ Summer Ethics Academy, a program that teaches ethics to 6th graders. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Tulane University, an M.A. in Philosophy from Boston College, and a B.A. in Philosophy and English Literature from Wheaton College.
A great Big Sweep was had by all. Thanks to those of you who joined us, Lake Waccamaw State Park and Charles King at Pireway that day. Helping to keep the Waccamaw clean and healthy for our families and our future.
JThe Riverkeeper and friends participated in the Waccamaw River Sweep on Saturday, September 15th in cooperation with the South Carolina Beach Sweep River Sweep. We had 2nd graders and their parents from South Conway Elementary join us. We had student volunteers from Coastal Carolina University. We had friends new and old join us. Thanks to all our volunteers for helping to keep the Waccamaw clean and healthy for our families and our future.
Thank you for joining the Riverkeeper and friends for the July 13th Moveable Feast with a special presentation by Charles Seabrook on his recent work entitled "The World of the Salt Marsh". We especially appreciate our friend Linda Ketron and ArtWorks' support of our program.
We took to the water again, this time on Conway's Blueways Paddle Trail to enjoy the rich nature and history of Kingston Lake and Crabtree Swamp in Conway. Stay tuned for future "If The River Could Talk" paddles, held quarterly year round.
Thank you to longtime volunteer Steve Berkowitz, retired Senior Instructor in Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University, for his interesting multi-media presentation, featuring photographs and short videos of his trip on the Upper Amazon River in Peru in November 2011.
The Riverkeeper and Black River Outdoors set off on a 3 day, 2 night paddle and camping trip on the Waccamaw River. Departing from under the bridge in downtown Conway on Saturday, March 31st, we paddled downstream to Peachtree area on the Waccamaw where we enjoyed our first night under the stars. On Sunday, April 1st (no kidding!), we launched heading downstream along the Waccamaw, joining with the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, en route to the Wachesaw area in Murrells Inlet where we enjoyed our second night under the stars. Our 2nd day on the water ended with a special treat...dinner at the fun and friendly Hannah Banana's Sunshine Cabana at Wacca Wache Marina! Monday, April 2nd was our last day on the water as we caught the tide heading downstream and the end of our Wild on the Waccamaw adventure.
Stay tuned for next year's adventure!
The Riverkeeper co-hosted River Reverie's Spring Showcase on Saturday, April 21st at the Lower River Warehouse on the Waccamaw River in historic downtown Conway. Created by Sarah Wellons, a native of Conway and a local artist, River Reverie was conceived as a forum in which people can savor the details of the town through various forms of artistic expression. The result is "A Night of River Reverie: 1880 and Beyond" hosted in The Burroughs Company's Lower River Warehouse, circa 1880.
Held at the Waccamaw Higher Education Center in Litchfield, the theme of the 2012 Waccamaw Conference was "Growing Green - River Friendly Solutions for Homeowners & Communities. Topics included:
Held at Hobcaw Barony's Kimbel Lodge, members and supporters enjoyed an oyster roast and southern buffet items in support of the education and advocacy programs of Winyah Rivers Foundation. Thanks to Litchfield Beach Fish House for supplying the food, to New South Brewing Company for the brew and to our members and supporters who attended.
The members and supporters of Winyah Rivers Foundation met on the banks of the Waccamaw River in historic downtown Conway for our annual River Celebration, a benefit for the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER®, on Saturday, September 24th.
This year our event included a fun afternoon event by the Lower River Warehouse. Local craftspeople sold handmade jewelry, painted gourds, and wooden duck decoys. Children participated in the creation of a paper mosaic of the Waccamaw River, courtesy of the Burroughs and Chapin Art Museum. Chicken bog and Pepsi products, generously donated by Donzelle's Restaurant and Pepsi Bottling Ventures respectively, were available for purchase as were RIVERKEEPER® tee shirts, posters and miscellaneous items. The Spots, a local bluegrass band, providing the music resulting in a festival-like atmosphere until the black clouds appeared.
Meanwhile, Frank Eaton and his merry band of Yakkity Yakers organized the participants for our Inaugural Bridge to Bridge Canoe and Kayak Race. The rain delayed the start of the race but did not dampen the spirits of the competitors. Meanwhile, while we waited for a break in the rain, Captain Jim took spectators on a history and nature tour into Kingston Lake on his eco-friendly electric boat. When the rain finally did let up, our paddlers took to the water in a spirited race to claim prizes in various categories. The picture below says it all!
The evening event inside the Burroughs Company's Lower River Warehouse was enchanting as this historic warehouse was transformed with lights, flowers, furniture loaned from Coastal Carolina University Theatre and silent auction items that included awesome art works, bountiful baskets, striking sculpture, gorgeous gems and extraordinary events. Our guests enjoyed heavy hors d'oeuvres prepared by Murrells Inlet Seafood, beer donated by California Dreaming, wine donated by volunteers, and live entertainment with the lovely local singer/musician Lola and supplemented with the musical stylings of Sarah Wellons. A magical evening by the Waccamaw River!
This event was sponsored by local individuals and businesses to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude. These individuals/businesses help support of the education and advocacy programs of the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® Program of Winyah Rivers Foundation and our fight for fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for our community.
Don't miss next year's event, scheduled for Sunday, November 11th, 2012. It is sure to be even better!
2011 Waccamaw Conference - Thank you to all our wonderful speakers, exhibitors and attendees for participating at the 2011 Waccamaw Conference! The event, held on Saturday, February 19th, from 8am to 12:30 pm, at the Waccamaw Higher Education Center in Litchfield Beach, focused on A Decade of Protecting Our Rivers and included the following speakers:
In addition, local conservation organizations exhibited at the conference.
Thanks to all who participated in this community education event hosted by the Waccamaw Riverkeeper and Sierra Club - Winyah Group.
River Roast South Benefit - Following the Waccamaw Conference, supporters of Winyah Rivers Foundation and the Waccamaw Riverkeeper Program, enjoyed oysters, southern buffet items and iced tea from Litchfield Beach Fish House, beer from New South Brewing Company, and wine on a warm and sunny day at beautiful Hobcaw Barony! Thanks to Bob Mimms, owner of Litchfield Beach Fish House, Dave Epstein of New South Brewing Company and supporters for this wonderful outdoor event!
Celebrate Our Rivers @ Ripley's on Saturday, November 6th was a great success. Special thanks go to:
Our Sponsors (click here for sponsor poster):
Our wonderful donors, companies and private individuals, too many to name, who helped to make our Silent Auction one of the best ever!
Our hardworking volunteers who put a lot of effort into organizing such a wonderful event!
And, last but not least, to everyone who joined us at the event to Celebrate Our Rivers.
On behalf of Winyah Rivers Foundation and the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® Program, we thank each and every one of you for your support of Celebrate Our Rivers @ Ripley's and of our mission to protect, preserve, monitor and revitalize the health of the lands and waters of the greater Winyah Bay watershed.
In addition to our fundraisers, our work is supported through membership, donations, and grants.
Membership: Click here to learn more about membership and its rewards.
Donations: We gratefully accept donations of money and/or services in kind. Interested? Click here to send the Riverkeeper an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 843-349-4007.
Fundraisers: We hold a number of fundraisers throughout the year and rely on our event sponsors and donors to support our ongoing education and advocacy programs. If you or your company is interested in sponsoring, or donating to, our fundraising events, click here to send the Riverkeeper an e-mail (email@example.com) or call 843-349-4007.
Grants:: We are grateful for the support of our current grantors including:
Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER®, Christine Ellis | Center for Marine and Wetland Studies | Coastal Carolina University
P.O. Box 261954 | Conway, SC 29528-6054 | (843) 349-4007 | Riverkeeper@winyahrivers.org
Winyah Rivers Foundation is a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.