Monday, February 8, 2016

Unwelcome Waters Deluge Santee Delta in January 2016

Cover story and photo for the Feb. 2016 edition 
Anyone driving along Highway 17 North during the early part of January could see that the Santee Delta was fully flooded. The parking lot for the SCDNR Wildlife Management Area between the North and South Santee Rivers was underwater, and so were many of the historic ricefields in the area. What made this flooding different from the thousand-year flooding in October is that this was water came from upstream at Lake Marion, causing the river to rise to nearly 23-feet and into major flood stage.

SCDNR Santee Delta WMA parking lot flooding 1/6/2016
The timeline for the water release can be found on the Santee Cooper website, sine they operate the Santee Spillway at the Santee Dam on Lake Marion. Due to substantial rainfall that fell primarily in the upstate in then flowed into the watershed, Santee Cooper initiated the water spill on Christmas Day and began with a rate of 20,000- cubic feet per second (cfs). By December 28 that rate was increased to 50,000-cfs and on December 31 the water released into the Santee River reached the highest level at 75,000-cubic feet per second.

On January 5 the spilling water from the Santee Spillway was reduced to 60,000-cfs, but by that time local news outlets were reporting some flooding of roads along the North Santee River in Georgetown County. Since it wasn’t raining in the Lowcountry it seemed odd to see such a high water level, so I drove up to visit the area on January 6 and found that the river lever was indeed way up, and that it’s rivers were still surging with no imminent crest. 

To read the entire article in the newspaper click on Charleston Mercury.

To view more photos from the flooding click on Field Notes.

To view past blog entries from the Santee Delta click on Hampton Plantation State ParkWounded Warrior Duck Hunt - Middleton Place Hounds - Deer Hunting - Hog Hunting

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