GEORGETOWN — The Lower Middleton complex at Samworth Wildlife Management Area is expected to see restorations beginning in February that could help with future flooding thanks to a $1 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In the area — subject to "extensive damage" starting with historic flooding in 2015 and followed by hurricanes, resulting in breaching of dikes — there will be an installation of four rice trunks, 13,425 linear feet of interior canal restoration, retopping of 7,780 linear feet of dike, construction of 1,460 linear feet of interior setback dike and enhancement of 2,560 linear feet of berm along eroded dikes, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Officials said the project is expected to enhance waterfowl habitat and improve habitat for game and nongame species, like wading birds, shorebirds, reptiles and amphibians.
SCDNR and Ducks Unlimited partnered to submit the grant, according to SCDNR.
The grant — along with $895,215 in matching funds from Ducks Unlimited, SCDNR, Open Space Institute and Audubon South Carolina — will allow management capabilities on 270 acres of managed tidal wetlands to be restored.
"The restoration of the Lower Middleton complex represents a major step forward in the restoration of total management capability of the managed wetlands at Samworth," said Emily Cope, deputy director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries for SCDNR. "The project complements the restoration of the Rabbit Island unit and planned work on the adjacent Upper Middleton complex, as well as the extensive restoration and maintenance work conducted by our Upper Coastal Waterfowl Project staff at Samworth. We are grateful to Ducks Unlimited, Open Space Institute, and Audubon South Carolina for their support in making the project a reality."
Samworth WMA is located in Georgetown and has a public boat landing and nature trail.