The Importance of Retention Ponds on Daniel Island

Of all the things to love about Daniel Island, we LOVE being close to the water! With access to docks, coastal waterways, and pools, no matter the type of water, we love being close to it. On one of your daily walks or bike rides, you may not give a second thought to the several rainwater retention ponds that dot our lovely island. Although some may view these structures as simply aesthetic features, they serve a much broader and important purpose to our community.

What is a Retention Pond?

At first glance, a retention pond looks like your average pond. You may see a few water-based plants and a some friendly ducks swimming. However, below the surface, these ponds play an important role in controlling stormwater runoff.

Residential areas can be prone to flooding because of all the impermeable surfaces and must be designed to properly handle stormwater runoff from streets, driveways, walkways, and roofs, particularly after large storms or during hurricane season. Retention ponds are used to hold and distribute rain runoff, which in turn helps prevent flooding. The ponds are typically landscaped with a variety of grasses, shrubs, and wetland plants to provide bank stability. The aquatic vegetation helps remove pollutants from nearby neighborhoods that may wash into the pond.

The vegetation also helps block trash from getting into rivers and streams. Plants, gravel, and sand also help filter pollutants from entering our waterways and our drinking water.


Natural Filters on the Shore of the Retention Pond

How do these ponds help keep Daniel Island from flooding?

Daniel Island has always prioritized flooding concerns when building developments across the island. You may notice that during a heavy rainstorm (or even a hurricane!), we’re not as prone as other areas of Charleston with older infrastructure.  That’s largely due to the input of Tony Woody, vice president and department director of Thomas & Hutton, who’s been working hand in hand with the Daniel Island Company since the mid-1990s.

Ever since the early beginning stages of Daniel Island, providing appropriate infrastructure for flooding has been a priority for development. Thanks to our island’s abundance of wetlands, the large pond at Smythe Lake, and retention ponds throughout our community, the design mitigates heavy rains brought on by storms and hurricanes. That’s why you’ll rarely see a flooded street on Daniel Island!

Next time you’re out for a walk or bike ride, make sure you pay special attention to the retention ponds across Daniel Island. They’re just one of the many factors that not only help our island during potential flood events, but also add to our beautiful landscape.

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