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Waccamaw Watershed Academy to assess stormwater pollution in Kingston Lake

March 31, 2006

Coastal Carolina University marine science professor Susan Libes, director of the Waccamaw Watershed Academy, is spearheading an effort to develop a comprehensive management plan for the Kingston Lake Watershed area near Conway.

The first part of the project, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in conjunction with the City of Conway and Horry County, will involve teams of volunteers conducting an assessment of the area during the week of April 3-7.

The Kingston Lake Watershed drains 130 square miles of Horry County, including Kingston Lake and Crabtree Creek, before emptying into the Waccamaw River at Conway. All of these water bodies are currently listed by the State of South Carolina as impaired for water quality. Assisted by maps and aerial photographs, field crews will evaluate potential pollution sources, locate hotspots or areas where pollution is especially prevalent, and suggest restoration opportunities.

According to Libes, an analysis of the survey results will yield recommendations for practices to help alleviate stormwater pollution. The most common prevention methods include lawn care education, pet waste management, stormwater pond maintenance, natural landscaping and reforestation, and hotspot pollution prevention, said Libes.

Based on information that will be collected through this and subsequent surveys, the academy ultimately hopes to produce a community-based watershed conservation plan for Kingston Lake and its drainage area.

Sponsored by Coastals Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, the Waccamaw Watershed Academy houses an environmental quality laboratory that conducts research and regulatory work on local environmental problems. Libes also helped form the Waccamaw Waterwatchers, a local volunteer water-monitoring group.