South Carolina probes toll of dredging on ocean food chain

(AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – New research shows that tiny creatures that serve as food for fish and crabs have dwindled in areas of the ocean near Charleston after dredging projects.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources report shows the effects of Folly Beach re-nourishment projects on the tiny bugs, shellfish and worms, according to The State newspaper in Columbia ( ).

The study found that some of the creatures weren’t found on stretches of sea floor as many as eight years after the sand was removed to widen the beach. The dredging projects occurred in 2005 and 2007.

The creatures, which can be smaller than a grain of rice, are important to carbs, fish and other marine animals. Researchers say those larger animals could die or move to different areas to find food.

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