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Evaluating and improving upon the Horry County South Carolina’s Flood Mitigation impact on Bucksport, SC.

Horry County, South Carolina

Featured image for the project, Evaluating and improving upon the Horry County South Carolina’s Flood Mitigation impact on Bucksport, SC.

This project in Bucksport, South Carolina aims to help empower this historic rural predominantly black community to address the increasing flooding events in their town. It aims to understand the short and long term impact of the county proposed flood resilience plan on flooding in Bucksport, evaluate the effectiveness of the major projects proposed as flood mitigation strategies for Bucksport and suggest concurrent strategies the community can implement.   


About the Community and the Project

Bucksport, South Carolina is a rural, lower-income, predominantly Black community with a population just over 700 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020). Located forty-five minutes from the popular tourist destination of Myrtle Beach at the confluence of the Waccamaw and Great Pee Dee Rivers, the Bucksport community faces a range of challenges including encroaching development, potential gentrification, combined with environmental concerns like deforestation and flooding. Most urgently, the increasing development of the surrounding beach communities combined with climate change are leading to more frequent flooding events. Bucksport has experience 5 catastrophic flooding events in the last seven years.  Bucksport community members, many of whom trace their lineage in the area to the pre-Civil War, are fearful of being pushed off their land as a result of flooding.  

In response to the documentation of increased flooding, in 2022 Horry County ( the county Bucksport is located in) finalized a flood resilience master plan. As they implement this plan they are going to be restructuring Big Bull Landing Road and constructing a dam, a primary road used by the community, and building a flood mitigation canal through Cowford Swamp. 

The Association for the Betterment of Bucksport has asked Thriving Earth to connect them with a scientist to understand the short and long term impact of the county proposed flood resilience plan on flooding in Bucksport, evaluate the effectiveness of the dam project on Big Bull Landing Rd, and Cowford Swamp canal projects as flood mitigation strategies for Bucksport, and suggest concurrent (ideally non-invasive) strategies to help protect the residents of Bucksport .  

Timeline and Milestones 

Spring 2023:  Search and connect community to scientist. 

Summer 2023:  Refine project scope if necessary; scientist starts evaluating plans. 

Fall and Winter 2023/ 2024: Provide information to community leaders. Conduct appropriate outreach events. Connect community to resources as appropriate to act on information provided.  

Project Team

Community Leads

Pierre Fignole headshot

Pierre Fignole III is an artist, filmmaker, and visionary who has lived In Bucksport since childhood. He is currently producing a documentary on the history of Bucksport, its cultural importance as a Gullah Geechee community, and the threats it faces from flooding, encroaching development, and a legacy of political disenfranchisement.   

Jaime McCauley headshot

Jaime McCauley is Associate Professor of Sociology at Coastal Carolina University. She specialized in environmental sociology, social inequality, collective action, social change. She moved to Bucksport in 2016 and is proud to support long-term residents as they work to protect their community from flooding. 


Community Scientist

Michelle Hummel is an Assistant Professor of Water Resources in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. She holds a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Michelle’s research focuses broadly on understanding how communities can effectively adapt to natural hazards and climate-driven disturbances in coastal regions. She is passionate about translating scientific knowledge to support decision-making about coastal hazards among policymakers and members of the public.


Community Science Fellow

Sushmita Lotlikar Headshot

Sushmita Lotlikar (she/her) is the Administrative Director at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, which is a part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Marketing from the University of WI-Whitewater and her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sushmita has a passion for making science more accessible through outreach, communications, and policy, which is what attracted her to thriving earth. In her spare time, Sushmita enjoys traveling, ultimate frisbee, hiking, reading, and good food.

Collaborating Organization(s)

The following organizations are part of the Bucksport Community Partnership. The mission of the Bucksport Community Partnership is to create economic security, safeguard family land, protect residents and natural sources from flooding and ensure generational heritage. 

  • Association For The Betterment Of Bucksport
  • American Rivers
  • Coastal Conservation League
  • Carolina Wetlands Association
  • Clemson University Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science
  • Coastal Carolina University
  • Duke University
  • Furman University
  • Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce
  • South Carolina Environmental Law Project