Brunswick County staff have finished the 2017 maintenance projects for the Caw Caw Canal.
The Caw Caw Swamp flows in a west-southwest direction into the Waccamaw River, with two tributaries flowing into the Caw Caw Swamp. The Caw Caw Canal includes 16.5 miles of channel improvements, intended to provide five-year frequency flood protection to crop and pasture land in the southwestern part of Brunswick County in areas near the Pee Dee watershed and the Waccamaw River.
However, the soil near the watershed does not drain well, and flat bays called pocosins nearby also rely on the Caw Caw drainage system for discharge. Excessive rainfall into the nearby Pee Dee Watershed can also affect the ability of the Caw Caw to function the way it is intended.
After Hurricane Matthew brought rainfall of up to ten inches to parts of Brunswick County in 2016, County staff began examining whether steps could be taken to help improve the Caw Caw Canal and help with drainage in the area during rain events.
After consulting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, staff developed a plan for maintenance projects in the Caw Caw Canal, inspecting the canal annually and focusing on a three-mile section each year. Maintenance activities included surveying for fallen trees and removing wood debris obstructing the flow of the system as needed, widening above the high water mark, identifying and repairing erosion to the right-of-way, identifying and replacing compromised drainage tiles as needed, and removing sand and silt blockages that impede the flow of water.
The 2017 projects have now been completed.