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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2015

Collaborative Leads to Removal of Abandoned Vessels from Ashley River and Charleston Harbor

Columbia, S.C.- Work has commenced on a joint federal, state, local and private collaborative to remove abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) in the Ashley River and Charleston Harbor. Working in partnership with NOAA, S.C. SeaGrant Consortium, the City of Charleston and Charleston City Marina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control has identified select ADVs for priority removal.

"A multi-agency collaborative, the abandoned and derelict vessels removal project is a positive example of what can happen when federal, state, local and private organizations work together," said DHEC's Director of Environmental Affairs Elizabeth Dieck. "Derelict and abandoned vessels pose a significant threat to the safe recreational use of our waterways and can also impact important marsh habitat. This coordinated effort can help make boating and other forms of water recreation safer for all of us."

Funding for the project is as follows:

  • $75,000 (NOAA) via Grant Award to S.C. SeaGrant Consortium
  • $29,000 (DHEC)
  • $20,000 (City of Charleston)
  • $10,000 (Charleston City Marina)

"The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium is pleased to be partnering with DHEC, the City Marina and the City of Charleston for the removal of abandoned vessels in the Charleston Harbor," said Consortium Executive Director Rick DeVoe. "Funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program for this removal allows us to eliminate these structures that pose threats to both navigational safety and the health of our coastal ecosystems."

"The removal of these abandoned vessels is an important step to ensuring the safe use of the Ashley River," said Charleston Chief of Police Gregory Mullen. "We appreciate the continued effort from our federal and state partners to address this important issue within the community."

"The appearance of the Charleston waterfront will be greatly improved for our residents who drive by the Ashley River on a daily basis, and for our visitors arriving by boat," said Charleston City Marina Managing Partner Robbie Freeman.

Vessel removal began this Monday, August 31, 2015. Removal operations are expected to continue throughout the week.

Photos are available here. (Photos Courtesy: DHEC).

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Background

Since 2004, DHEC has taken leadership role in addressing the ongoing problem of marine debris and abandoned vessels. With limited grant funding provided by NOAA and the State of South Carolina, DHEC's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management has implemented numerous on-the-ground projects in partnership with municipalities throughout the coast to improve the safety, health and beauty of our coastal waterways. To date, over 100 abandoned vessels and large debris items have been removed through a combination of compliance assistance, administrative enforcement and contractual removal operations.

Cassandra Harris
Public Information Officer
harriscs@dhec.sc.gov
803.898.1127