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Coastal Carolina University professor proposes plan to keep Lake Busbee afloat

Coastal Carolina University professor proposes plan to keep Lake Busbee afloat (WPDE)

Beautiful and man-made, Lake busbee has become a staple of Conway and the Grand Strand. But, with the destruction of the Grainger Smoke Stacks, its main purpose is now gone too.

The lake was built for catching water that came out of the Grainger Plant, and the main source of the water is pumped from the Waccamaw River.

RELATED: Lake Busbee's future in question with power plant coming down

James Luken, Director of Graduate Studies and a biology professor at Coastal Carolina University, has been studying the lakes for years, and he doesn’t want to see it dry up.

"Since the Grainger Plant closed, the amount of water has probably decreased a little bit,” said Luken. “It looks like the water has probably dropped about a foot. It's not a very deep lake, probably 4 or 5 feet most places, maybe a few deeper areas here or there.”

He says, if the pumping of the water stops, there will be a lot of stranded fish and eventually the lake could become a marsh.

But, he says he's come up with a plan to save the lake and draw people, and their wallets, to Conway.

"Try to make some deeper areas that would create a permanent lake,” Luken said.

Luke said that would mean dredging, which costs money, but he says it would be worth it in the long run.

“That would keep the trees and aquatic vegetation from coming in. Wherever you make those deeper areas or canals, that, of course, is where you could also have trails for kayaking and canoeing and maybe even some small boats with electric motors and things like that."

Matthew Varnadore with Waccamaw Outfitters says he would be interested in bringing his kayak and pontoon tours to Lake Busbee if it would help bring people into Conway.

But, he said he’s not holding his breath because there are plenty of places along the Waccamaw River for him to take customers.

"I'd hate to see it dry up, but anything to better the city,” said Varnadore. “Anything that is going to offer more opportunities for our visitors and residents alike."

Luken said he hasn’t presented his plans to the city yet, but he does intend to.

RELATED: Plans coming soon for Grainger Steam Plant site

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