The Destruction of the Mt Pleasant Pier – Updated 6/13/2019

The Mount Pleasant Pier, also known as the Mount Pleasant Fishing Pier, a pier that has been titled a fishing pier from day one – a pier that is for everyone.

The Mount Pleasant Pier resides in the Charleston Harbor, nestled in a flat on the Wando side. A pier that has become popular for so many reasons, one of them being its serenity.

Local Carolinians and tourists alike have come to know this pier and have become attracted and addicted to its small wonders. Under and around the pier’s foundations and along its side is an estuarine system, which harbors all kinds of life.

Others and myself have seen Sturgeon leaping out of the water on a sunny day and pods of Dolphin doing the same. We have leaned over the side off of the end of the pier and watched Manatees dance amongst each other in a playful ballet.

We have watched large schools of Cownose Stingrays come in alongside the pier in the Spring. We have sat on the benches and felt the cool wind blow against our skin and the sunlight tanning our faces as we listen to the Seagulls sing and the water ripple.

We have all taken a moment to look around and see the smiles on other faces, individuals in wheelchairs slowly rolling up the pier, looking out over the water and taking in the small wonders.

Like the Sandpipers on the flat, Herring stalking their next prey, Mullet dancing on top of the water, and fishermen in a one-on-one battle with the unexpected on the other end of their lines as they catch Trout, Flounder, Red Drum, Cobia, Black Sea Bass, juvenile Gag Grouper, Sheepshead, the list seems endless in such a pristine environment.

I have met Veterans, some exceeding the age of 95 years old, walking this pier. Handicapped individuals enjoying its easy access, aiding in their ability to enjoy what it has to offer.

So why do I say, “The Destruction of the Mount Pleasant Pier?”

Mothers with their infants, either in their arms or in strollers, enjoying the day. Groups of children, teenagers and college students enjoying an outing as their teachers and guides point to the wildlife and show our youth things that some have never seen in the wild.

There are exercise enthusiasts, photographers, artists and all kinds of people that have grown to love this wonderful place, so why do I say, “The Destruction of the Mount Pleasant Pier?”

Have you ever heard the saying, “If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it”? Or, maybe you have heard sometimes if you add too much to a good thing, it might become a bad thing.

They would like to add 300 feet of pier off of the right-hand side of the existing pier going towards the Wando River, directly into the estuary

This is the case with the Town of Mount Pleasant. The Town Council along with a small percentage of locals and investors have taken it upon themselves to try to sell the idea that it would be great to turn the Mount Pleasant Pier into a wharf.

The Town of Mount Pleasant has stated in a Phase II Plan that they would like to add 300 feet of pier off of the right-hand side of the existing pier going towards the Wando River, directly into the estuary.

They would turn a large percent of the right-hand side of the pier into a marina with floating docks, a gangway, and boat slips that could accommodate 40-foot vessels, intended for the use of ferries, water taxis, tour boats and shared space for the police and fire department vessels.

These are also supposed to accommodate small craft and other craft up to 23 feet long intended for day docking to access the pier and the park.

So, one would ask themselves, are they just trying to make it nicer and more useful for the locals and tourists?

After all, I guess I would like to cruise over to the pier in my 23-foot watercraft and dock so I could walk over to the park and play in their playground, which is for elementary age children (LOL).

Other than that, the only thing available in the park is a small field, a couple of bathrooms and the River Watch Café, which mostly sells souvenirs.

Of course, you could be interested in sandwich and a drink or even an ice cream cone. The answer in most cases is no.

I, myself, have been enjoying the Charleston Harbor for 30 years, and at almost any day, you will watch most of the crafts moving through Shem Creek or the Charleston side of the Harbor where there are a large amount of high-end restaurants, bars, bathrooms, fuel, with plenty of adult things to do. So, why go through this effort?

I would like to speculate. Let’s just look at some of the things going on up against the Mount Pleasant Pier and alongside Memorial Waterfront Park.

The Town of Mount Pleasant has allowed a developer to start construction on the Ferry Wharf Office Building and the Ferry Wharf Hotel with a private boardwalk that leads directly to the Mount Pleasant Pier, and the boardwalk was built and completed a few years ago, before the authorization was even given for the buildings themselves.

The key words are Ferry Wharf, so my guess is that all these developers were missing was their wharf, and the Town of Mount Pleasant has decided to give them one, using our public pier.

I myself, along with others are aware of the destructive impact this project would have on not only the serenity and beauty of the existing pier itself, but the impact on the marine life will be devastating.

The flat is a shallow flat. At low tide the water only reaches depths between 4-6 feet, and on some of the tides that coincide with a full Moon, the water depths become even lower.

Vessels 23-foot and over would damage the flat and animals severely by prop wash damage, which would be like running a rototiller through a flower garden

This means most likely in order to bring in 23- to 40-foot vessels into that shallow of water that is lined up with crustaceans and micro organisms along with steel debris and concrete left over from the old Cooper River bridges, they would have to dredge.

But engineers, along with the Town of Mount Pleasant, are saying they would not have to dredge, meaning that bringing in vessels 23-foot and over would damage the flat and animals severely by prop wash damage, which would be like running a rototiller through a flower garden.

After all, this flat is also one of the four main spawning grounds of the Spotted Seatrout in the Charleston Harbor, but as I mentioned above, there is all kinds of wonderful, beautiful wildlife that resides and raises their young in this estuary.

Without the micro organisms and the crustaceans being left healthy and undamaged, these juvenile species of fish and animals will not be able to survive their youth.

This would mean these fish will either have to find other grounds to thrive in or they will just have to die off, but may I remind everyone that this flat and estuary resides just before entering the Wando River, which helps supply a lot of the wildlife that grows and enters it.

So, I will let you decide. Would you rather walk out on a pier and lean over the side and stare at someone else’s boat and maybe see a Manatee with prop scars on its back and enjoy watching the mud and bottom get kicked up in the boat’s wake?

Or, would you rather still look over the side and see schools of fish swimming freely, Ospreys flying over the flat diving for Mullet, and old fishermen leaning on the railing with looks of glee on their faces as they sit and enjoy the serenity?

I hope I could help inform everyone of what I believe to be a tragedy.

The permitting applications have been applied for by the Town of Mount Pleasant and have already been approved by South Carolina DHEC and are awaiting a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

But, if you would like your voice to be heard in this matter, please feel free to contact the Town of Mount Pleasant, contact your representatives, contact every conservation group you think could help, make a stand.

After all, if we cannot conserve what we have left today, there will be nothing left for tomorrow, and unfortunately, the wildlife cannot speak for itself.

UPDATE : 6/13/2019

It looked like Mt Pleasant town council, a couple of weeks ago, voted down the expansion of the pier. However, in a twist of events the council had a second vote and now its going to be built.

The mayor of Mt Pleasant, Mr. Haynie, voted against extending the pier on the second vote, because as he put it: “I question this whole thing,” He noted that most of the funding for the pier extension comes from a tax increment financing district set up by the town, which diverted property taxes from the Charleston County School District and Charleston County town projects.

Mayor Haynie said that if it were up to him, he’d give the money back “because this is not what TIF funds were meant to be spent on.”

Mt. Pleasant councilman Gary Santos, a supporter of the expansion of the Mt. Pleasant Pier, is using Shem Creek as an example, he is saying that the piers on Shem Creek and the Marina are not hurting the wildlife, so how could the expansion of the pier effect marine/wild life. we don’t agree with the council member.

We wish there were more folks out there who know the facts about Shem Creek and the Charleston harbor and how an expansion of the pier will seriously effect the eco system around the current pier, you can see the news video here.

For those wondering how an addition of a 300 ft pier with 8 boat slips and 200 feet of additional dock can do damage to an eco system around the current pier where it looks like its only a “mud flat” of no use, can read the Essential Fish Habitat Assessment for the Charleston Harbor and Final Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Report CHARLESTON HARBOR done by the Army Corp or Engineers to learn where fish are spawning in the Charleston harbor area and other waters around Charleston and the environmental impacts.

To view some fishing adventures, go to my  “Fishing with Jiggin Jerry” Channel on YouTube or go to www.jigginjerry.net.

You may also enjoy reading Sport Fishing – By Jiggin Jerry

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