Gov. Henry McMaster and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette trim overgrown shrubbery along a floodway canal in Nichols as part of a volunteer effort that’s part of a statewide flooding task force. File/Rob Thompson/SCDOT

Governor’s flood group won’t fix SC problems with artificial reef, scientists say

Dozens of retired scientists and environmental groups say key recommendations of South Carolina’s statewide flooding task force are misguided and that scientific data don’t support them.

Ideas such as artificial reefs to slow beach erosion and man-dug lakes to hold excess river water should be scrapped, according to the Senior Conservation Leadership Alliance.

“Many of the draft recommendations appear to align less with stewardship of our natural resources than with business as usual, including a ‘build our way out of it’ approach to the challenge,” a letter from the Alliance says.

The group includes 22 scientists and policy experts who have had careers with past governors, state environmental regulators and federal agencies.

The group, and another coalition of environmental nonprofits, said over-engineering the problem — and encouraging new development near the hypothetical lake — could miss the point.

Instead, they say Gov. Henry McMaster’s task force should focus more on moving people away from flood-prone areas, including the beach.

The comments were submitted in response to the August findings of McMaster’s Floodwater Commission. Many people also said the report didn’t seem to clearly lay out the causes of flooding in different parts of the state, didn’t include costs or feasibility for the potential fixes, and didn’t incorporate science to back up the claims.

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