Gov. McMaster visits Horry County, calls on state to be leader in flood mitigation

Floodwater Commission meets at CCU

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Flood Commission presented its report to Gov. Henry McMaster and the public in Horry County on Friday.

The report comes a year after McMaster called for the creation of a commission to develop a plan to mitigate flood damage in the state and reduce the financial impact.

Officials said Friday’s presentation is just the beginning for South Carolina’s analysis of the problem. Despite the report’s initial phases, McMaster said he is optimistic about where it will take the state.

“We’ve taken a big step, we’ve made a decision that we are going to assemble ourselves. We are going to collaborate, communicate and cooperate, breaking down silos, eliminating barriers, talking to each other," McMaster said.

The report contains hundreds of pages of research and analysis but the commission calls on 10 areas of action. Some of those recommendations include simple things like planting one million trees in 10 years, increasing native plants along the coast, and cleaning ditches.

Other recommendations rely on data, including identifying high-priority floodplains and wetlands, and creating a river flow model system.

The report also recommends studying the feasibility of artificial reefs and reservoirs.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

Flood Water Commission chairman Tomas Mullikin said putting the plan into action will take time and the collaboration of everyone.

“We are going to be about solutions not about divisions,” Mullikin said.

The report is one way the state is trying to be proactive as opposed to reactive on flooding issues.

“Change is upon us and we simply must answer the question of whether we will lead the change or if we will let the change itself dictate devastation all throughout our communities and families," Mullikin said.

Mullikin said the next step is determining feasibility and timelines.

As the commission and state moves forward, officials said they are open to comments and new ideas from citizens.

McMaster hailed the plan and the commission’s efforts as a significant step for the country.

“This is really a single moment in history, I believe, not only of our state, not only of this university, not only of our people, but of our country and perhaps even the world,” McMaster said.

The governor said he hopes the country can learn from what the state uncovers as it works to mitigate flooding.

Along with Friday’s presentation, volunteers across the county took part in Horry County Service Day.

“These demonstration projects have been so important because they demonstrate to communities, ‘Hey, we can do something about this,'” said Mullikin.

Earlier this year, the commission worked with crews in Marion County to clear 25,000 feet of roadway ditches and 1.5 miles of canals.

Teams in Bucksport, Socastee, Conway and Longs helped clear waste from the waterways.

Mike Langston was one of the members of the South Carolina State Guard who traveled across the state to volunteer on Friday.

“This is part of our state. Here we are from the Upstate, from the mid part of the state, to lend a hand and show the people of South Carolina that they matter and we’re honored to be their neighbors and come alongside them and help them as we clean up our state,” Langston said.

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