CCA SC Topwater Action Campaign Continues to set the Habitat Bar
CCA SC’s commitment to improving fisheries habitat for the benefit of both the resource and the recreational angling community is evident. In fact no other angler advocate group is operating at the level that CCA SC is in the Palmetto state in any area of marine conservation. The work of the volunteers and members of CCA SC have catapulted the state chapter’s Topwater Action Campaign to the top of hands on improvement for South Carolina’s marine resources. Newly appointed Topwater Action Campaign State Chairman Gary Keisler of Mt. Pleasant has been instrumental in making this program so successful over the past fall and winter.
Since recycling oysters is such a key element to the program, prior to the start of the 2009-2010 oyster roast season Gary and the committee set a goal of recycling 4,000 bushel of oyster shell by April 2010. By working closely with staff from the Marine Resources Division, Gary and CCA SC volunteer’s began an all out onslaught to collect shells and to educate folks on why it is such an important issue. “In South Carolina, oysters are king in the fall” he said. “We consume far more than we even grow yet we end up having to purchase shell each year to support our state restoration efforts. We realized early that we could potentially kill two birds with one stone by recycling more shell and hopefully being able to redirect those funds for other needed projects”.
Parameters were set at a minimum of 30 bushels for a recycling trailer to be dropped off but events netting as small as 12 bushels were included in the committee’s effort. In total 61 volunteers participated in 39 different events and 7 different caterers joined the effort. The largest event each year is the Boone Hall Oyster Festival and this year was no exception with 1750 bushels being round up after the party was over. Boy Scout students, school clubs, doctors, lawyers, and every day folks aided in the recycling effort; the youngest being 9 years