I want to thank Tommy Braswell for his excellent article about the Summerville Saltwater Anglers' trash pick-up along three miles of the upper Ashley River.
Club president David Fladd said that there are probably several more truckloads of trash in the river, and that members could have spent all day picking it up. He said that if a source way up river is washing trash in, we need to stop it.
Yes, we do. And the sources are easy to see: the roadside ditches and creeks in Summerville and down through North Charleston and Charleston that dump pounds of trash into the river. Saw Mill Branch is but a small illustration to be multiplied by hundreds.
Fortunately, thanks to the leadership of Mayor Bill Collins of Summerville and the support of the town council and civic leaders, the town has engaged in production of a master plan that, among other things, identifies the Ashley River and its feeder creeks like the Saw Mill Branch as "green necklaces" to be preserved and enhanced for the region's future.
The question is: how will this happen? It won't, unless two things occur:
1) We citizens take personal responsibility and realize that when we throw litter out the car window, it ends up in ditches and creeks, and eventually in our rivers.
2) We improve our private-public partnerships in design and engineering so that stormwater and random pollution are much better managed from the outset.
As executive director of Drayton Hall and as a boater on the Ashley, I see what the Summerville Anglers saw in the Ashley River as it flows past us or is deposited in our marsh.
If we are to return the Ashley to being a healthy and fishable river, or a "green necklace," we have to find solutions that engage us all. Summerville's master plan, which highlights enhancement of this state scenic river, is a step in the right direction.
George W. McDaniel
Ashley River Road