GEC water sampling over the past six months has been helpful in identifying
areas that are under stress and out of ecological balance. Results from the
Oak Grove Island area have indicated an extreme fluctuation in salinity in
some areas of the estuary, while others are being starved for fresh water.
There are two underlying problems.
The fresh water from the tidally influenced freshwater Flatwoods Forest was
channelized so it flowed through areas where it once mixed with salt water.
Currently, the freshwater passes through the canal, known locally as the
Hutcheson Canal, and directly into Turtle River. On high tides, the canal
also allows salt water to flow deep into freshwater wetland, which is
Instead of removing the canal that was the problem, two sets of flood gates
were installed to keep saltwater from entering the Coastal Flatwoods Forest
during the tidal cycles. Sampling indicates the flood gate area is still
being starved of fresh water.
The GEC is working on having the area restored to its natural hydrology.