DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON, S.C (WCBD)- A group of people are fighting to protect Gadsden Creek on the Peninsula from being destroyed & filled to make way for future development.
It’s a four track of tidal wetlands located along Hagood Avenue on the westside of Downtown, Charleston that activists say they don’t want to see destroyed.
“Saving Gadsden Creek and actually revitalizing the shared resource is more about recognizing the wrong of the past. The wrongs being the destruction of natural systems,” Cyrus Buffum, member of Friends of Gadsden Creek, said.
The friends of Gadsden Creek are fighting to protect the area after a revised joint public notice was issued this week by the Charleston District, Corps of Engineers and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control about an application from a developer to fill nearly 2.9 acres of Gadsden Creek as part of a development project.
“We are advocating for the denial or withdrawal of this permit application. Thereby, saving what remains of Gadsden Creek— these four acres of beauty and then working beyond that to actually increase the functionality of this system,” Buffum said.
The group tells me that Gadsden Creek is a living, thriving wetland and, therefore, is a critical zone that can’t be developed without a permit. However, now that such permit has been requested, the creek is in danger of being destroyed.
“I think what people need to understand is that more development in this area, and more importantly filling this creek, creates an urgent issue with flooding,” Tamika Gadsden, member of Friends of Gadsden Creek, said.
They say that the creek is vital to protecting the surrounding, predominantly African American, community from storm damage and flooding.
“When we look at all of this Spartina grass & oyster wreaths, all of those serve as buffers of energy that would be coming from storms,” Buffum said.
They say they are concerned that filling the creek to make way for development will displace native families that are already feeling the effects of gentrification in the area.
“There is an array of black humans here that need to be regarded, as humans, as fully formed humans. These are not just pieces on a chess board to be moved around. We cannot forget the humanity that exists here and that will be impacted by uncontrolled, unfettered overdevelopment,” Gadsden said.
DHEC has responded to the concerns from the community over the proposal to fill Gadsden Creek saying:
“The revised joint public notice was issued June 25, and DHEC is accepting public comments for 30 days from that date. A copy of the public notice is attached. The applicant is proposing to fill 2.866 acres of Gadsden Creek as part of the project. The public comment period is currently open, and DHEC encourages community participation through the submission of comments. DHEC is required by law to permit activities that meet all applicable federal and state regulations, but the permit decision may be influenced by public comments. DHEC will be conducting in-depth reviews of the permit application and will consider in detail the public comments we receive as part of this permitting process.”