KICA Annual Reports 2014 - Page 13

12 Year in Review - The Big Picture Maintaining KICA’s Drainage System 43 Miles of Vital Island Infrastructure KICA routinely inspects sections of its more than 43 miles of drainage pipes that connect our island’s 119 lakes and ponds. These large pipes, ranging from 15 to 54 inches in diameter, are critical for maintaining optimum water levels in the ponds and, even more importantly, for protecting the island from flooding during a major weather event. Inspections reveal where pipes are occluded (blocked) with sediment and identify aging pipes in need of replacement. As Kiawah’s drainage system approaches 40 years of age, both of these issues are becoming more prevalent. KICA clears occluded pipes on a prioritized list and replaces pipes as needed. To clear an occluded pipe, a diver must enter the pipe with a long vacuum-type hose. The sediment is removed and deposited in a large bag. The bag is then compressed to drain out excess water from the sediment. This entire process can takes several weeks to complete. In 2013, sediment was removed from pipes that run beneath Sea Forest Drive and Night Heron Park, connecting Ponds 29, 33 and 34 (search “Kiawah Island” on Google and click on the map to see the island ponds by number), substantial pipe replacement projects have taken place at Greensward and Conifer drives and under Kiawah Beach Drive, and the water control structure at Willet Pond was rebuilt. Drainage work is ongoing with a metal pipe replacement project under Kiawah Island Parkway scheduled for 2014. Stabilizing the Inlet Cove Channel An Effective Solution for Erosion Completed at No Cost In early July 2013, KICA initiated a partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources through its SCORE (SC Oyster Restoration and Enhancement) program to replenish oyster beds along the Inlet Cove channel. Over 2,000 bags of oysters were placed along the waterline. The bags act as a substrate for the juvenile oysters, protecting them from the natural elements. The oysters will not only help to replenish the natural population along the channel, but should also help to stabilize the bank, protecting it from erosion. This project was conducted at no cost to KICA, other than staff manpower. Initial reports from SCORE have identified this as one of their most successful replenishments to date. In 2014, KICA will again partner with SCORE to expand the project area at Inlet Cove. For additional photos and video of the project, visit KICA on Facebook (facebook.com/kiawahislandsc).