Report on floodwater solutions to be given Nov. 8

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John McCann

The South Carolina Floodwater Commission has made some strides since Gov. Henry McMaster organized it a year ago.

In recent years, our communities have faced frequent flooding from rainstorms, hurricanes and tides, which can threaten our people, our property and our way life. Major flooding events like Hurricanes Matthew and Florence have already drenched coastal communities with millions of dollars in damage to property and infrastructure.

Gov. McMaster felt the best way to tackle this issue was to convene mayors from coastal communities including Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach and Charleston; the chairmen of our respective county councils for Beaufort, Horry and Charleston counties; and a host of other experts and state and community leaders. Councilman Tom Lennox has attended commission meetings on behalf of our Town Council.

We are charged with identifying potential short-term and long-term mitigation solutions for low-lying and coastal areas, and areas along the state's rivers that are at risk of experiencing flooding. In its initial Task Force report findings, released in August, the commission highlighted 10 key recommendations for addressing the state's drainage system, shoreline erosion, stabilization of marsh edges, the use of green infrastructure as a cost-effective approach for managing and reducing stormwater at its source, consolidation of state resources to create greater efficiencies and cost effectiveness, grid protection, and other water management issues.

A final recommendation calls for developing a capacity building program to assist under-resourced local governments in identifying solutions and applying for federal funding.

Many of the recommendations are very important for our island, where we face challenges with flooding, rising sea levels, beach erosion and other natural occurrences.

As part of the Our Plan process for the rewrite of our state-mandated comprehensive plan, Town staff and citizens are discussing ways we can proactively deal with these occurrences. Our ability to respond to the impact of natural disasters depends on how well prepared we are locally and statewide.

The commission's initial report is available online at governor.sc.gov/executive-branch/south-carolina-floodwater-commission. The commission will present its final report to Gov. McMaster at its quarterly meeting at 10 a.m. Nov. 8 in the Singleton Ballroom at Coastal Carolina University in Conway. The public is invited to attend.

John McCann is the mayor of Hilton Head Island.

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