CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Horry County Council is being asked to reconsider a proposed bridge that officials with the Waccamaw Riverkeeper program say could negatively impact the river and surrounding swamps.

The Riverkeeper program is a part of the Winyah Rivers Alliance, which works to protect and preserve the Waccamaw River. News13 spoke with a riverkeeper about some of their concerns about the future of the river and surrounding swamps.

“It’s proposed to cross the river at some point,” Cara Schildknecht said. “We don’t have a specific location for that yet, but any crossing of the river is going to impact wetlands. It’s going to impact water quality, and that’s something we just need to be aware of.”

Schildknecht also voiced concerns about how swamps would be affected.

“Our swamps are impacted,” Schildknecht said. “They can’t do the things that they’re supposed to do, like prevent pollution from entering the waterways,”

The swamps also mitigate flooding, which prevents bacteria and soils from getting into the Waccamaw River. The blackwater river stretches 140 miles, starting in southeastern North Carolina and ending in eastern South Carolina.

“It’s one of the coolest rivers I’ve ever been on,” Schildknecht said. “It’s beautiful. It’s completely different from any other river. It has such a unique ecosystem.”

The Waccamaw Riverkeeper educates the community by speaking at county council meetings, where they look for support from the community to help preserve the river.

“It’s a healthy river, which is how we want to keep it,” Schildknecht said. “But as we see our swamps being impacted, we see more pollution making its way to the river, whether that’s bacteria or extra soils, which we call turbidity in the water. We are seeing those impacts, but not to the extent that we’re worried yet.”

Schildknecht said they will continue to speak at council meetings and educate the community on the importance of preserving the river.

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