In 2009, three members of CCA SC had an informal discussion concerning what the state chapter could do next to expand its role in marine conservation and improving recreational angling. It was the beginnings of the organization’s Topwater Action Campaign.
“We really didn’t have any idea where to begin or how to get where we wanted to go,” said CCA life member and founding state board member Mike Able. “It was simply a notion that we could do more to respond to the growing changes along our coast that impacted our fisheries and our enjoyment of those resources.”
The state board agreed with the proposal and began to committee resources towards doing just that. Starting with oyster recycling and reef restoration, which remains a cornerstone of the program, CCA SC has invested more than $100,000 in donated equipment to the SCDNR to establish and maintain a fleet of oyster recycling and deployment tools and vehicles. Volunteers have put in more than 10,000 service hours through the SCORE program to deploy oyster shells back into the creeks and estuaries on more than 140 reef sites using that equipment in that time frame.
Additionally, 10 nearshore and offshore reef projects off the Palmetto State coast have either been completed or pledged completion at a total investment at more than $500,000 by CCA SC and its habitat partners.
“This program has been one of the most rewarding things I have been a part of both personally and professionally in my time with CCA,” said Executive Director Scott Whitaker. “We hoped we could do big things but we had little idea of what that would be back when we began. To stop and catch your breath in reflection, is quite surreal. We have far exceeded what I had foreseen and the future looks even brighter as our list of projects continues to expand into projects that are just inspirational.”
Visit CCA SC’s website for more information,