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Conservation Alternatives for Shoreline Erosion


By: Sabrenna Bennett, Public Affairs Assistant

SCE&G, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), East Piedmont Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council and NRCS have formed a partnership in an effort to educate Lake Murray residents and contractors on the innovative conservation alternatives available for shoreline protection and erosion control.

Protecting the shoreline from the damaging effects of erosion is a constant concern for lakefront residents. As a solution, many have used the conventional practice of installing natural rock riprap along the shoreline. While this approach is effective in preventing erosion, it may cause damage to wildlife habitat and often fails to filter out harmful pollutants. Luckily, riprap is not the only solution.

Bio-engineering and open-cell block are other conservation choices that protect the shoreline and provide erosion control. These two conservation practices are usually combined with vegetation to create a strong barrier against erosion and filter out polluted run-off, as well as enhance wildlife habitat and add natural beauty to the landscape.

“These new innovative techniques now offer shoreline protection with vegetation as an effective esthetic,” stated Jim Wilson, NRCS urban conservationist. “Erosion on lake shorelines in South Carolina can exceed one foot per year of land lost, which effects water quality and landowner value. We applaud SCE&G for approving conservation approaches to enhance Lake Murray.”

The cost of these conservation techniques depend on site conditions and materials. However, each technique is comparable in cost.

Demonstrations were held on June 29, 2004, and Lake Murray residents and contractors were invited to an overview of Lake Murray shoreline objectives, which was followed by demonstrations of riprap, bio-engineering, and open-cell block conservation practices along 150 feet of Lake Murray shoreline.

For more information, contact Wilson at (803) 576-2084.