Lake Busbee fish survey completed
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – Biologists with Santee Cooper and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources have completed a fish survey of the industrial cooling pond known as Lake Busbee. The survey found low productivity and a fish population primarily consisting of sunfish species already common in and around the adjacent Waccamaw River.
The surveyors did capture and transport to the Waccamaw River about 40 largemouth bass. The survey concluded that, due to low fish populations, further attempts to capture and transport fish would not be productive, nor would any transfers provide significant benefit to the Waccamaw River ecosystem.
The fish study was conducted as part of the ongoing process of returning Lake Busbee to its natural wetlands state. Santee Cooper began pumping water out of the pond on April 12, and pumping is expected to continue into May.
As the water level continues to drop and the area returns to natural wetlands, the remaining fish concentrated in smaller pockets will provide valuable forage for a variety of wildlife, including wood storks, herons, egrets, shorebirds, gulls, bald eagles, ospreys, turtles, alligators and raccoons.
Santee Cooper will continue to monitor the draining process. Once the water recedes and the ground is stabilized, Santee Cooper will plant native saplings, at 300 to 400 trees per acre, matching nearby wetlands. Planting will take place in the winter when plants are dormant. The transformation to natural wetlands will take several years.