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A $5 million federal investment will soon add 446 acres of land along the South Carolina shoreline.CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A $5 million federal investment will soon add 446 acres of land along the South Carolina shoreline.Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is currently made up of 22 miles of barrier islands. Sarah Dawsey, the refuge manager, has been working with nature preservation since she was in high school and joined the Youth Conservation Corps.“This has been a lifelong goal for me. I mean, I can&r...
A $5 million federal investment will soon add 446 acres of land along the South Carolina shoreline.
CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A $5 million federal investment will soon add 446 acres of land along the South Carolina shoreline.
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is currently made up of 22 miles of barrier islands. Sarah Dawsey, the refuge manager, has been working with nature preservation since she was in high school and joined the Youth Conservation Corps.
“This has been a lifelong goal for me. I mean, I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to get this money. We have barrier islands, the refuge is barrier islands, and they’re only accessible by boat,” Dawsey says.
Coastal Expeditions does run a ferry to Bulls Island for a fee so those interested can visit for the day. There is a public dock on the island for those with boats to use as well.
“This money will allow us to have a tract on the mainland, where we can have trails, we can have hunting, fishing, environmental education, everything that we do on the islands, but to a greater extent and you don’t have to have a boat so it’s really exciting,” Dawsey says.
She also notes that a mainland tract is a step toward a future corridor connecting the refuge to the Francis Marion National Forest.
Durwin Carter is the project leader for Cape Romain, Ace Basin, Santee and Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuges. He says any addition of land is a huge win for conservation efforts, wildlife and the people nearby who can enjoy it.
“It ties directly into what our mission is. Our mission is essentially working with other partners to conserve these lands and habitats and the critters that use it, for the public to enjoy,” Carter says.
Dawsey and Carter pointed out how erosion from storms and sea level rise are threatening the barrier islands and, in their time at the refuge, they have seen the saltwater breach into ponds on Bulls Island and encroach further into the land each year.
“With the threats happening with development and habitat fragmentation and sea level rise, any additional lands that we can conserve are going to be beneficial. We do what we do for the wildlife, for the habitats and for people to enjoy. But we also do it for future generations to enjoy,” Carter says.
The funding comes from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. The fund is made up from the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as Duck Stamps, and import taxes.
The refuge has a visitors center located off Highway 17 where people can learn more about the conservation work and migratory bird protection the islands offer. Dawsey says people are always welcome to visit Bulls Island as long as they come with respect for the wildlife and leave it as they found it.
“If you see birds flying around or acting unusual or dive bombing you, that’s a signal that you’re close to their nest and they’re just trying to protect their babies,” Dawsey says.
Cape Romain is home to more than 290 bird species that migrate through the area as well as other animals like alligators, deer and sea turtles.
“We are just winding up our field season, so we have a really big loggerhead sea turtle project, it’s seven days a week. We do a lot of posting for birds and stewarding to keep people out of the bird areas and educating people on why it’s important,” Dawsey says.
Carter says his staff and volunteers are grateful for the land the refuge currently gets to take care of. They are looking forward to the expansion once the sale is finalized and eventually to hosting wildlife and visitors on the new mainland tracts.
“We’re really lucky to have the jobs that we have because they really enjoy their time out on the water of Cape Romain; really enjoy their times out on the trails, enjoy their times out appreciating the refuge, doing birdwatching, fishing, hunting, whatever it is, we’re constantly reminded of how great our jobs are because we get a chance to see this every day,” Carter says.
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AWENDAW, S.C. (WCIV) — For the past three years, two months, and 17 days, Middleton & Maker Village Barbeque has been providing good food for a good cause, and has provided a safe space for customers.“It’s a backyard family reunion type of effect," said Eliot Middleton, one of the co-owners of the popular business....
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCIV) — For the past three years, two months, and 17 days, Middleton & Maker Village Barbeque has been providing good food for a good cause, and has provided a safe space for customers.
“It’s a backyard family reunion type of effect," said Eliot Middleton, one of the co-owners of the popular business.
This family reunion started back in 2016 as a mobile business bringing barbeque to different areas throughout the Lowcountry, but once those wheels parked, the business began to grow.
"From that opportunity coming into this opportunity with this restaurant being available and getting this literally two days before Covid start, so it’s just been a very strong strong battle for the last four years," Middleton said.
Middleton's passion didn't stop there. After realizing transportation was hard to come by for some people, his love to help the community kicked in.
“On the Middleton side, whatever profits I get from the restaurant, it all went back into the cars and making sure I could fix and develop cars that needed," Middleton said.
Unfortunately, the popular BBQ spot, located on 5105 N HWY 17 in Awendaw, will be closing due to new development plans moving into the area. But the business is now going back to its roots.
“We’re going back mobile. It’s going to be Middleton’s Village Mobile Barbeque LLC, and we’re going to be in all of the other areas and counties, and we’re going to do more community-oriented events," Middleton said.
Despite the change in locations, the passion remains, and the village will only grow.
"And they say if you build it they will come, and that’s what we did here—we built it, and people are coming," said Charles Maker, co-owner of Middleton & Maker Village BBQ.
Middleton and Maker will also start having village field days throughout the community for people of all ages to come out, play games and get some good food.
Middleton's service to his community dates back years. In October 2020, he was recognized with the Jefferson Award after he started fixing up old cars and giving them out to people in need of reliable transportation.
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCIV) — Many Awendaw residents are calling it a "win" after the town's Zoning Commission denied a request Monday evening to rezone 66 acres for a possible development.The land in question is in the vicinity of Boomstraw Hill Road and Sewee Road and was recently annexed into the town limits from Charleston County.Developer David Weekley Homes recently acquired the neighboring Awendaw Village development, and made a brief presentation at Monday's meeting answering questions from board members and th...
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCIV) — Many Awendaw residents are calling it a "win" after the town's Zoning Commission denied a request Monday evening to rezone 66 acres for a possible development.
The land in question is in the vicinity of Boomstraw Hill Road and Sewee Road and was recently annexed into the town limits from Charleston County.
Developer David Weekley Homes recently acquired the neighboring Awendaw Village development, and made a brief presentation at Monday's meeting answering questions from board members and the public.
Their proposal included creating lot sizes of 20,000 square-feet per home with a little more than 60 homes planned. But the current Agricultural zoning designation only provides for a minimum 30,000 square-foot lots. A change to Residential zoning would have decreased that limit to 12,500.
Allen Rioux serves on Awendaw's Board of Zoning Appeals and said the consensus from citizens is a desire to keep development density low.
"We're certainly not anti-development or anti-developer. We understand that this is a desirable place to be, and - in fact - we think that development is important for our community, for our tax base," Rioux said. "But, what the community is against is high-density development. We need to be reasonable. We have great resources here and we need to be careful that we don't negatively impact them."
Others at Monday's meeting called the request premature.
David Weekley Homes faces some challenges with the land. First and foremost, access.
The parcels are currently land-locked, meaning there's no road legal road access. However, a phase to development of their recently acquired Awendaw Village off Highway 17 would provide an adjacent connection to the 66-acres.
A few residents from Awendaw Village were at the zoning meeting and voiced their concerns over unfulfilled promises from their original developer.
David Weekley Homes will likely need to return before town council or the Zoning Commission with an updated development proposal.
Grits are a classic Southern dish of hominy meal boiled into a rich, creamy, savory foundation for a comforting breakfast, lunch, or dinner. While shrimp and grits, cheese grits, or just a simple bowl of ...
Grits are a classic Southern dish of hominy meal boiled into a rich, creamy, savory foundation for a comforting breakfast, lunch, or dinner. While shrimp and grits, cheese grits, or just a simple bowl of classic creamy grits are popular recipes, Awendaw soufflé is a unique and elegant grits dish you have to try.
Often described as a cross between spoon bread and soufflé, Awendaw soufflé possesses both cooked grits and yellow cornmeal. Egg whites give Awendaw its dainty, fluffiness, while milk, cornmeal, and buttery grits bestow creaminess and an utterly comforting savory flavor. Modern twists add cheese, aromatics, chiles, or fresh herbs to the basic recipe for even more depth of flavor.
While Awendaw is a popular Charleston tradition, it gets its name from the tribal lands of the Sewee Indians, encompassing a large swath of current-day South Carolina. Consequently, the name also honors the culinary exchange between Native Americans and southern settlers; hominy is a crop native to the Americas, and the Sewee taught arriving colonists how to harvest and prepare it.
The first documented recipe for Awendaw appeared in Charleston native Sarah Rutledge's 1847 cookbook, "The Carolina Housewife," as Awendaw cornbread. Rutledge describes the recipe as having the texture of a baked custard or pudding. Awendaw remains a staple side dish in households around Charleston, served alongside fried chicken or as a foundation for shrimp or sausage gravy. Even if you're not in Charleston, you can easily make this tasty soufflé at home.
Awendaw soufflé takes a few more steps than plain grits, but the result is a far more complex and impressive side dish. You can make Awendaw as a soufflé in individual ramekins or as a casserole in a standard rectangular baking dish. You'll need a cup of warm, freshly prepared grits. If you're making individual soufflés, you'll need more eggs than a casserole; both methods require more egg whites than egg yolks. While the grits cool, separate the egg whites from the yolks and whisk them into a fluffy white foam.
Pour the warm grits into a mixing bowl along with egg yolks, yellow cornmeal, and equal parts milk and buttermilk for the casserole. You could also swap out the milk and buttermilk for three-fourths of a cup of grated cheese. Then you'll fold in the egg whites in batches to create an aerated batter that will fluff up nicely in the oven. After transferring the batter to buttered ramekins or a casserole dish, you'll bake it in the oven.
You can add more ingredients to the batter, from chives and corn kernels to green chiles, diced jalapeños, and crispy bacon bits. If baked in a casserole dish, the finished product is denser like spoon bread, while soufflés baked in ramekins will be lighter and puffier.
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCSC) - The coastal waterways are home to activities like fishing, shrimping and hold many of the Lowcountry’s famous oysters. However, a nonprofit environmental law firm and the people of Awendaw say these waterways could be in jeopardy.Charleston Waterkeeper and South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, two environmental organizations of the Lowcountry, want the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to have more of an oversight of septic systems that are being installed by the en...
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCSC) - The coastal waterways are home to activities like fishing, shrimping and hold many of the Lowcountry’s famous oysters. However, a nonprofit environmental law firm and the people of Awendaw say these waterways could be in jeopardy.
Charleston Waterkeeper and South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, two environmental organizations of the Lowcountry, want the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to have more of an oversight of septic systems that are being installed by the entire coastline. Because of this, they filed a complaint in November that is now moving its way through the circuit court.
“DHEC has, no one has, any idea how many septic systems exist in South Carolina because no one’s keeping track of it,” Emily Nellermoe, staff attorney at the South Carolina Environmental Law Firm and one of the lead attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said.
One of the many areas of concern is in the Town of Awendaw. Back in the spring, the town’s planning commission approved two large residential subdivisions, resulting in more than 400 septic tanks coming right next to the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
Susan Cox lives in Awendaw and says she is passionate about saving these waterways.
“The mission statement of the Town of Awendaw says they want to maintain the rural character of the town, but there is nothing about a dense housing development that says rural,” Cox said.
Cox says her and her neighbors believe this area was improperly rezoned years ago. She says these septic tanks are going to do irreversible harm to the wildlife.
Andrew Wunderley, director of Charleston Waterkeeper, says his organization tests the water quality of areas like these.
“There’s evidence that septic tanks, especially clustered at high densities, can discharge pollution by creeks and rivers,” Wunderley said. “So, it’s a huge concern... Any of those activities that make the Lowcountry lifestyle and living here in the Lowcountry so special are put at risk.”
Nellermoe says she doesn’t know why the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is not asking these important questions.
“What are the impacts of 200 septic systems on the watershed overall?” Nellermoe said. “What are the impacts to oyster beds and shellfish harvesting? They’re not asking any of those questions and they should be and that’s a problem.”
The Department of Health and Environmental Control says they do not comment on pending litigation. However, Nellermoe says she heard from them recently and they say they do not have to use their specialized agency to review these permits and they are not breaking any laws.
“This is the largest undeveloped piece of coastline on the East coast in the United States of America and once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Cox said. “You can’t get it back.”
The Town of Awendaw has not responded for a comment. Nellermoe says the timeline on this complaint depends on court scheduling, so there is not a set date of when further action will be taken.
The filed complaint for South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and Charleston Waterkeeper v. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is below.
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