I am deeply concerned that the USC Foundation intends to sell the Prince George tract near Pawleys Island to developers. This will have significant impact, not only to the tract’s natural environment but to the North Inlet watershed. The Prince George tract is located within the watershed of the environmentally sensitive North Inlet estuary. This estuary is part of Hobcaw Barony, which was set aside by Belle W. Baruch, for education, conservation and research. North Inlet has been relatively unencumbered by man, and acclaimed for its pristine water quality.
North Inlet is a coastal crown jewel. It holds the key to many of our questions regarding maintaining water quality in our developing coastal ecosystem. The estuary’s pristine water quality is a perfect natural research lab for understanding the effects that humans have on the environment. It is home to thousands of fish, mammals, birds and other species that depend on estuarine habitats as a place to live. In fact, most commercially important species of fish depend on estuaries for their development. Estuaries have significant commercial value. Their resources benefit the state by providing fisheries, recreation and research. North Inlet and our estuaries are special places that must be protected. Our coastal regions are overpopulated and polluted, but North Inlet has been tirelessly protected.
South Carolina should be concerned about what the USC Foundation intends to do with the Prince George tract. To destroy North Inlet for the sake of development will be a loss to the state, to the university’s ongoing and important research and to the delicate ecosystem that will not survive the impacts of development.