Cayce, SC 05/19/2022 - As Memorial Day approaches and many South Carolinians and visitors prepare to enjoy the lakes and other waterways across the state, a donation from the Cayce, SC based Dominion Energy SC and its Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation will provide the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) with new equipment to assist its mission of protecting the state’s waterways.
Dominion Energy South Carolina President Keller Kissam on Wednesday presented Gov. Henry McMaster and SCDNR officials with a new side-scan sonar device during a ceremony at Lake Murray Public Park in Lexington County. Dominion Energy provided a $120,000 grant to the South Carolina Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers Association (SCWLEOA), which used the funding to purchase the new equipment.
The agency had only one side-scan sonar device for use across the entire state. With the second system, SCDNR can now divide the state into two zones, significantly increasing its efficiency and response time during emergencies. Having two devices will also provide more options for first responder training and assist with underwater maintenance work.
“In every corner of South Carolina, you’ll find breathtaking waterways that attract people from all around the country, and it is imperative that we do all we can to protect them,” McMaster said. “I’m grateful for Dominion Energy’s grant that will help the Department of Natural Resources keep these waterways safe, but we all have to do our part in responsibly enjoying these natural gifts.”
Side-scan sonar devices emit intense pulses, which can provide a vivid image covering a wide range in zero-visibility conditions along the bottom of a lake or river. With it, responders can quickly scan a large body of water during search and recovery operations.
“Safety is Dominion Energy’s top priority in everything we do, including operating Lake Murray,” Kissam said. “We rely heavily on the partnerships we have with law enforcement agencies such as SCDNR -- the true guardians of these irreplaceable resources that make South Carolina so unique. It is Dominion Energy’s pleasure to provide a significant grant for this much-needed equipment, to promote water and boating safety, and to encourage personal responsibility regarding the trash footprint no one should ever leave behind when enjoying the wonders of nature in our beloved home state. Working together, we can preserve this legacy for generations to come.”
SCDNR Director Robert H. Boyles Jr., said, “We are grateful and thankful for Dominion Energy’s purchase of a side-scan sonar device for use on South Carolina’s major lakes and waterways. The sidescan sonar will assist SCDNR law enforcement personnel in search and recovery operations and emergency management incidents all across the state. This is especially timely and appropriate as next week is National Safe Boating Week.”
In addition to its close work with SCDNR, SCWLEOA will partner with community groups to educate boaters on common water dangers and how to prevent and respond to emergencies while on the water. Dominion Energy is also partnering with Keep the Midlands Beautiful on an anti-litter campaign. This campaign will add permanent signs at all of Lake Murray’s islands and boat ramps reminding visitors to “Leave Only Footprints Behind.”