Special Area Management Plans

Uses of coastal resources are not always mutually compatible and conflicts of use can occur. Where these conflicts are widespread, a Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) is used to collect and examine data, identify potential development trends and anticipates conflicts between different uses. SAMPs can be used to develop strategies to protect and manage resources in order to ensure the goals of the various users of the resource are compatible. SAMPs may be requested by state, local, or federal entities in addition to the Department's inherent authority to develop such plans. SAMPs are initiated by the DHEC Board and must be approved by the Board prior to final implementation. During the preparation of a SAMP, alternatives that will address and manage conflicts will be explored, and policies which will implement the chosen alternatives, will be identified by stakeholders which may include state and federal agencies, local government(s), nonprofit organizations and private citizens. These alternatives include refinement of policy or application of existing policy in a specific geographical area. Multi-level government involvement is usually a key component to implementation.

Cooper River Corridor SAMP

The Cooper River Corridor SAMP presents an opportunity to implement recommendations which focus on three primary issues in the area: cultural resources management, water-based recreation, and natural resources management. The Cooper River Corridor in Berkeley County, stretching from Old Highway 52 to Highway 41/402 and from the "Tee" to the Pinopolis Dam, is a uniquely important area from historical, natural resource, and economic perspectives. The need to balance the multiple uses of this area and limit potential conflict is very important to Berkeley County officials, local landowners and other stakeholders in the area. Building on the previous efforts of the Charleston Harbor Project (CHP), a research-oriented SAMP encompassing most of the tri-county area, recommendations have been developed to ensure the multiple uses of the Cooper River area can be maintained. This SAMP is the result of the implementation of the final recommendations of the CHP Management Plan in conjunction with issues and recommendations from the Subgroups for each Cooper River Corridor focus area. The SAMP was sponsored by Berkeley County, the Berkeley Conservation District and DHEC OCRM.


Murrells Inlet Special Area Management Plan

Phase 1 of the Murrells Inlet Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) focused on the following objectives:

  • Work in partnership with Georgetown and Horry counties to ensure that water quality is given equal consideration to water quantity in the drainage improvement projects being undertaken in the inlet watershed. In order to do this, the SAMP will develop and fund a demonstration project to treat stormwater run-off to provide sufficient filtration and settling before the water reaches the inlet.
  • Work with the Department of Natural Resources to further develop a program to recycle oyster shells, providing maximum bedding potential for oyster spat, and increasing the reproductive population of inlet oysters; concentrating replanting efforts on chronically Closed Areas.
  • Develop and implement an education program which will inform the public about resource protection measures they can take to improve water quality in the inlet.
  • Examine the potential to retrofit roads and bridges that are shown to be high-impact run-off problems in the watershed.
  • Provide input to Georgetown and Horry Counties on how they may reduce impervious surface coverage and/or move it away from receiving waters.

Ashley River SAMP

Completed in February of 1992, the goals of the SAMP were to develop public policy for conservation of the natural and historic character of the Ashley River Corridor, thus increasing the predictability of governmental decisions and ensuring the long-term protection of the unique character of the area while taking into consideration the rights of individual citizens. The SAMP boundary stretches from the Atlantic Coastline Railroad trestle to the Highway 61 and 17A junction and from the western side of Dorchester Road to the east and the eastern side of Ashley River Road to the west.

Policies developed during the SAMP process addressed docks, marinas, boat traffic, buffers, and archaeological sites. Participants included: Dorchester County, Charleston County, the Town of Summerville, the City of Charleston, the City of North Charleston, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Soil Conservation Service, SC Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism, SC Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, landowners, interested citizens, and nonprofit organizations.


Beaufort County SAMP

This comprehensive Beaufort County management plan encompasses a wide range of topics and activities: more advanced stormwater controls, wastewater disposal in the county, water quality monitoring, boating management, and education of the public about buffers, shorelines, septic tanks, hazardous materials, and boating.


Charleston Harbor Project

The Charleston Harbor Special Area Management Plan contains an overview of the current status of the Charleston estuary and surrounding uplands. This multi-year research program was designed to assist federal, state, and local governments with the process of framing action plans for issues both immediate and long-term, related to public policy and private initiatives, which may be localized or encompass the entire watershed. The CHP SAMP recommendations included in this document have been translated into an action program detailing operational responsibilities, requirements, and schedules that will be reviewed and updated every five years.