Georgetown County flooding could displace local marine life

Georgetown County flooding could displace local marine life

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -The Department of Natural Resources will be monitoring salt levels in the water as Georgetown County braces for major flooding this week.

The influx of fresh water flowing from the North can have an impact on local marine life. It was a slow day at the East Bay Street Boat Landing.

Capt. Fred Rourk is a fishing guide with Sweet Tea Charters and says the influx of fresh water can have long-term impacts on marine life and he’s seen it happen before.

“Fish can tolerate fresh water if they can acclimate as they go, but if you dump all fresh on these fish they can’t handle that. So what they tend to do is move, they leave along with their food source and everything else, everybody leaves,” Rourk said.

They leave for another salt water environment.

Department of Natural Resources biologists are closely monitoring the water in the northern part of the state. DNR officials say after the historic 1,000 year flood in October of 2015 in took at least six months for things to revert back.

Rouk says he’s seen it take longer.

“Several guides that are just like me, they’re independent people, make their living in salt water,” he said.

It’s a view that Ginger Goude shared with her grand children on Monday because she’s uncertain what will happen to the area after the flooding.

“I feel like it’s something they should see before,” Goude said.

She also shared with them the spirit of giving as her family dropped off food for the South Carolina National Guard preparing for the flooding.

"We gave them water and Powerade and drinks and chips," Goude's granddaughter Bella said.

DNR officials say they are not seeing any major impacts yet but floodwaters could impact commercial fisherman.

"South Carolina has a huge recreational boating fishery industry that has a huge economic impact on the coast," Rourk said.

While Rourk won’t be in the river, he says he’s prepared to help with rescue efforts on land if there is a need.

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