I’d like to take a moment to share some good news about recent recognitions the Town has received for flood protection and environmental sustainability. These recognitions highlight the amazing work Town staff does on behalf of our community.

The Municipal Association of South Carolina presented the Town of Hilton Head Island with a Municipal Achievement Award in public works for its rehabilitation of storm water pump stations.

Stormwater pump stations sound complicated, but they are very necessary for a community like ours that is prone to flooding. They serve as a vital part of flood control for barrier island communities that have low-lying watersheds influenced by tides.

The town’s Jarvis Creek and Lawton Canal pump stations, our two oldest stations, needed major system upgrades as evidence by service failures, including during Hurricane Matthew, and mounting repair costs.

The town undertook a more than $4.2 million rehabilitation of the stations, replacing electrical control systems, installing new and refurbished generators, overhauling submersible pumps, and upgrading remote monitoring, among other upgrades.

The Jarvis Creek project reduces the potential for flood losses for more than 1,700 properties in its watershed, while the Lawton Creek project does the same for 1,800 properties in its watershed.

The projects are vital to the town’s strategic plans and efforts to protect the community from rising sea levels. The upgrades help protect more than 3,500 properties, providing long-term, efficient flood control and stormwater management.

Environmental sustainability is one of the core values in our recently adopted comprehensive plan document, Our Plan.

It’s no surprise that Audubon International has once again designated the town as a “Certified Audubon Sustainable Community.” Hilton Head Island is one of three communities in South Carolina to receive the honor through the Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program.

The program provides information and guidance to help communities preserve and enhance what makes them healthy and vibrant places to live, work and play. Certified members have defined a vision for their future founded in the three pillars of sustainability – a healthy local environment, quality of life for citizens, and economic vitality.

John McCann is the mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island. JohnM@hiltonheadislandsc.gov