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Posted 4/30/2015

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By Joe Moran
Fish Biologist

Charleston District and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources personnel recently hosted a group of engineers and biologists from Thailand at the Cooper River Rediversion Project in St. Stephen, SC. Across two days, the visitors were provided a behind-the-scenes tour and a detailed explanation of how the St. Stephen fishlift works. The Thai contingent is visiting several fish passage facilities to look for ideas for their own passage activities in Thailand. Their dam and fish passage plans are very similar to the Charleston District’s work at St. Stephen and they specifically requested to see the St. Stephen facility. The group was very impressed with the St. Stephen fishlift, its engineering and the volume of fish it passes every season.

The St. Stephen fishlift is unique to South Carolina and is the only one of its type in the southeastern United States. On average, approximately 750,000 American shad and blueback herring pass through annually, which is more than any other passage facility on the Atlantic coast. The general public is encouraged to visit the facility and its visitor center. Visitors can actually watch fish moving through the fishlift on their spring spawning migrations.

During spawning season, Feb. 1 to May 15, self guided tours are available from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guided tours are available every day, including Saturday and Sunday, but must be scheduled through the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau, SC, at 843-825-3387.

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