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Tropical Storm Nestor and Edisto River Basin Calendar

Neil Kurtz, Capt. Landon Seigler and Maddie Kemp at the Redfish Tourney.

A rare October low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico blossomed into Tropical Storm Nestor, bringing drought-busting relief to the Lowcountry. The only issue that the outdoors community could muster is that the statewide rainfall came on a Saturday. The weather delayed the Edisto Watersports Redfish tournament by one day, but the South Carolina Gamecocks noon home game was played in rainy conditions. Anywhere from two to three inches of rain fell in the Edisto River Basin, and a public meeting coming up in Blackville will discuss surface and groundwater management for the next 50 years.
The Edisto Watersports and Tackle annual redfish tournament scheduled for Saturday, October 19 was postponed one day by Tropical Storm Nestor. Twenty-four fishing teams competed on Sunday for cash prizes and bragging rights. Anglers could weigh in any two redfish that were within the slot limit between 15 and 23-inches, and the heaviest aggregate weight wins. Captain Landon Seigler claimed first place with a total weight of 8.29-pounds of redfish, with Captain Corey McMillan taking second with 8.21-pounds and Captain Roy Brazell in third with 7.98-pounds. Captain Roy Brazell also took home awards for redfish with the most spots and the biggest trout. Captain Jeremy Parsons weighed in the heaviest single redfish at 4.45-pounds.
Coming up on Edisto Island on Saturday, October 26 is the Edisto and Beyond Tour of historic plantations, churches, and graveyards sponsored by the Edisto Museum. New this year to the tour of homes is Willtown Plantation, in addition to Crawford Plantation, The Grove Plantation, Brick House ruins, Woodruff Cottage, and several churches. The Edisto Island Open Land Trust is holding its annual oyster roast on Sunday, October 27, at Sand Creek, and will be celebrating 25 years of protecting properties on Edisto Island. Don’t forget about the tenth annual Trick or Treat festival for kids at Bay Creek Park from 6 – 7:30 on Halloween.
The South Carolina drought response committee met again on Thursday, October 17, and deferred making any major decisions with rainfall from Tropical Storm Nester due to bring relief. Thirty-eight counties in South Carolina are currently in the moderate stage of drought, and the drought response committee will meet again in one week to determine if those categories should be changed after the precipitation from Nestor.
The evidence is becoming clear that the drought has already adversely affected agricultural operations. For instance, with the lack of rain and reduced hay growth, some cattlemen had to feed winter hay the there herd in late summer. Until Nestor, there was limited soil moisture for farmers to plant winter grazing seed, and the yield is off in row crops that are harvested in fall due to the drought.
The below-normal rainfall and high temperatures have caused a steady drop in streamflow, groundwater and lake levels. According to SCDNR hydrologist Priyanka More, several groundwater gages in the Upstate dropped to below normal levels for the first time, demonstrating how the range of drought is growing. The SCDHEC water monitoring division is reporting no issues with water demands from lakes and rivers. Agricultural irrigation continues during drought conditions, raising the question about the depletion of aquifers, an issue that remains on the minds of those that live in the Edisto River Basin.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources just announced a public meeting in Blackville on November 18 to educate citizens on a new plan to guide water usage in the coming decades. Surface and groundwater needs will only increase in the future, and the SCDNR wants to engage volunteers and activists interested in serving on a council that will develop and implement these guidelines in the Edisto River Basin. The meeting in Blackville will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Clemson University Edisto Research and Education Center.
To learn about advocacy for the Edisto River Basin, look to the collaborative efforts of the Friends of the Edisto (FRED) and the Edisto Riverkeeper. They practice stewardship and outreach activities to maintain a healthy and sustainable watershed and ecosystem in the Edisto River Basin. For more information visit www.EdistoFriends.org on the Internet.

Jeff Dennis, Lowcountry Outdoors
Jeff Dennis, Contributor (376 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com