The Town of Bluffton, South Carolina was a one square mile coastal village until it experienced exponential growth in the early 2000s, and today is approximately 54 square miles. Until this recent growth, few sources of possible impairments to water quality were recognized within the watershed, and even fewer within close proximity to the river itself. In 2007, the Town was told by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) that fecal coliform levels in the May River headwaters were increasing and in 2009 the river received a shellfish harvesting classification down-grade. In response to this down-grade, the Town of Bluffton, with Beaufort County and stakeholders, committed to take action to restore shellfish harvesting in the river and to prevent further degradation to the river. Following the U.S. EPA (EPA) guidelines for developing watershed plans, Town staff worked for nearly a year with consultants, Beaufort County, topic experts and local residents to develop the May River Watershed Action Plan which was adopted by Town Council in November 2011.

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