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A Harbor View Road Duck Tunnel – why not?
Lee Walton

A recent increase in the frequency of pressed duck being served to motorists frequenting Harbor View Road has motivated a few nearby residents to cry fowl and take matters into their own hands. But, short of posting a few hand-lettered signs to warn motorists of an all-too-fatal duck crossing, little support has materialized by way of a solution to this messy problem. Last week’s Journal, that sad little emasculated remnant of a once proud and independent James Island weekly publication, contained a feature article lamenting the loss of many Mallards and a few giant Canada Geese that frequent the grassy banks of the roadway shoulders in the Lawton Bluff Subdivision.

A short embankment section of Harbor View Road separates two neighborhood lakes that have become year-round waterfowl habitats over the last few decades. With few natural predators, except for an occasional raccoon or turtle, the flocks of Mallards, Wood Ducks, Canada Geese, and assorted wading birds have become noticeably large. Regrettably, man-made predation by speeding vehicles has increased in pace with the growing waterfowl population.

One local neighbor and ardent defender of the ducks has become quite outspoken in her efforts to rally support and find a solution to the “pointless” waterfowl deaths on Harbor View Road. Her challenge – “Can’t we James Islanders come up with a solution to these senseless and preventable deaths?” – need not go unanswered. Several years ago, the State of Florida acted to solve a similar “pressing threat” to its endangered population of Florida Panthers by constructing a series of cougar tunnels under Alligator Ally across the Everglades. Not to be out done, Charleston’s own Mayor Riley spent over $2 million in taxpayer funds to construct a Golf Cart Tunnel under Maybank Highway at the eastern foot of the new Stono Bridge. So why can’t we do the same for these poor, suffering James Island ducks?

There is a real opportunity to protect the ducks during the upcoming County Roadwise widening and upgrading of Harbor View Road. Instead of just extending the drainage pipe that currently connects the two lakes under the road, install a big box-culvert to provide a wide, inviting waterway under the roadway for the ducks to safely utilize.

Just think of the great “PR” the Riley Administration could glean from such an environmentally beneficial project. Riley’s sidekick, Dana Beach, could present the Mayor a special “world-class environmentalist award” from the SC Coastal Conservation League, at a ribbon cutting ceremony led by local City Council Member, Harpy Wilson, as she swims through the new tunnel carrying a torch while leading a flock of grateful, quacking ducks. One can just imagine the Palter and Chatter above-the-fold, page A-1 headline – “Just Ducky”.

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