10 Jun Can a Swamp be a Fishing Paradise?
Congaree National Park is a floodplain forest home to a unique and diverse array of waterways and water features, from rivers and creeks to small ponds and lakes. These large, connected water systems support over 60 species of fish, many common targets for anglers within the park. However, since the park was designated as a National Park, much of its land was designated as a wilderness area, forcing many locals to abandon their favorite fishing holes. Creating a significant disconnect between the local community and park staff. This is where my internship comes in because my job as the fishing assistant is to expand the park’s knowledge of the local community and the aquatic environment. I will act as the bridge between the staff and the predominantly African American community surrounding the park. As well as be an expert on things related to fisheries management.
My project will focus on hosting and participating in educational and community outreach events, expanding upon the existing Fishing Management Plan, and providing insight into the current condition of the park’s waterways. The first of these goals will be accomplished by me hosting two fishing clinics within the park. As well as by participating in various other community events such as the Juneteenth festival and various fishing clinics hosted by the South Carolina Department of natural resources. In addition to community outreach, I will be working on further developing and enhancing the Fishing Management Plan that I started last year. The Fishing Management plan will be the guiding document for future work related to fishing management in the park. Finally, the last aspect of my project will be collecting length data from fish captured during my field days within the park. The length data will be used to construct length-frequency charts that will visually represent the health of several more common sports fish within the park. With 278 fish caught last year and 72 caught so far this year, it is not a reach to say this place might be a fishermen’s paradise. So, my hope is that the data from both summers will help shed insight on how to keep this an anglers paradise, that is accessible to any and all whom wish to come.