Charleston Parks Conservancy reveals little damage to parks after Hurricane Matthew

The Charleston Parks Conservancy surveyed the city parks after Hurricane Matthew this month and reported little damage.


The most visible damage at the park was a tree that went down near Broad Street and Rutledge Avenue.   File photo

The Charleston Parks Conservancy surveyed the city parks after Hurricane Matthew this month and reported little damage.

While the storm surge from the hurricane flooded the lake at Colonial Lake, the thousands of plants set out in spring and early summer had time to establish their root systems and were not washed away. The flooding by seawater may have affected some plants, but as the parks dry out, the Conservancy horticulturalists will evaluate the plants' survival rate.

"We will monitor the plants and see what comes through," Charleston Parks Conservancy Director of Programs Jim Martin said. "We are learning from Colonial Lake -- whether it's from a hurricane or a three-month heat wave. In many ways, this is positive because we can learn about the plants and how they react, and then we can share that information with the public as part of our educational mission."

The $5.9 million renovation, completed this summer, added a water control structure to Colonial Lake that functioned as designed. It directed water from the park to the lake and out to the river during and after the flooding. The most visible damage at the park was a tree that went down near Broad Street and Rutledge Avenue.

"This is all just a natural part of living in the Lowcountry," Conservancy Executive Director Harry Lesesne said. "Tropical storms, hurricanes, heat waves -- these all happen here in Charleston and impact our parks. We simply embrace it as a part of nature, and we know that our parks and our plants are resilient and will respond."

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