We are fortunate on the island to have such a pristine beach, so when flotsam and jetsam washes up, it’s very noticeable. Turtle team members have been finding them on the beach, and started to investigate the source. To our south, Wild Dunes has been searching for a way to protect the golf course, and they are currently using very large sandbags to try to keep the ocean away from the golf course. While these very large bags are a huge improvement over years past, Gary McGraw, the head of the Dewees Island turtle patrol, shared his concerns in a letter to the city administrator of Isle of Palms. Gary said,
We would like to urgently request that you take immediate measures to stop sand bags from Wild Dunes washing into the ocean. Yesterday June 13 we found a large sand bad floating in Dewees Inlet. This is a danger to boaters who might not spot the floating material and run over it with potential harm to the boat or to the people in the boat.
We have also retrieved 5 large sand bags that have washed up onto the Dewees Island beach [photo attached]. Besides being a hazard floating in the open ocean, these bags are a menace to our nesting loggerhead sea turtles. As you know, loggerhead turtles are listed in the Endangered Species Act and are federally protected. One of us (Gary McGraw) holds the South Carolina sea turtle permit for Capers Island and has found a large sand bag washed ashore there as well.
This lack of maintaining the hazardous sand bags and allowing them to enter into the environment needs to be corrected. Nesting season for the sea turtles is already underway. We would appreciate it if you would please take whatever actions you can to fix the problem.
The story was picked up by the Post and Courier and local ABC affiliate News 4.