- Our Work
- Get Involved
February 17th, 2023
By Erika Hollis
Happy New Year from the Clean Water Team! The new year is off to a quick start, and it is hard to believe it is already February.
This Water Log will update you on some of our legislative priorities that pertain to clean water conservation. We will walk you through legislation we hope to move forward, ways for you to be involved, and our participation in a statewide conservation group, the South Carolina Conservation Coalition.
Lastly, we will give you the rundown on upcoming public events later this spring. As always, thank you for your continued support and interest in Upstate Forever’s Clean Water work.
Clean Water Director
The SC Conservation Coalition is a group of organizations working with citizens across South Carolina to ensure future generations continue to enjoy the natural assets of our richly diverse state. Their vision for South Carolina’s prosperous future is one where natural resources are recognized as an irreplaceable part of our economy, history, and culture – and where economic development and conservation goals align.
Members of the SC Conservation Coalition share the vision that South Carolina should be a place where water resources are used efficiently; where sporting traditions and wildlife abound; where land conservation is upheld; where energy needs are met affordably, reliably, and cleanly; and where local food is accessible and transportation dollars are invested wisely.
To achieve this vision, the SC Conservation Coalition supports environmental laws, policies and regulations that affirm the rights of citizens to clean air, abundant water, and healthy communities; a fair and efficient public permitting and enforcement process and adequate funding for natural resource agencies.
UF is proud to be part of this coalition and to work with other conservation organizations to identify, promote, and achieve collective legislative action that improves and protects the state's natural features. For more information about the SC Conservation Coalition, visit their website.
Upstate Forever works to support legislative measures that protect land and water, increase landscape resilience and public access to the outdoors, facilitate access to clean energy for residents and businesses while keeping bills low, and promote smart, balanced growth.
UF’s involvement includes direct communication with legislators, research, education, testifying during committee hearings, drafting amendments and comment letters, and building support from citizens, advocates, and businesses.
Megan Chase-Muller, the State Policy Director at UF, heads up our work at the state house, and is responsible for managing our involvement in state-level legislative priorities. To see the most recent update from the Conservation Coalition at the State House, view the recording of the Conversation with the Conservationists, click HERE.
While there are many legislative priorities that UF promotes, we think it is important to share clean water specific priorities that are on the docket this legislative session. The following are two legislative priorities for clean water in 2023.
1. Supporting the River Basin Council’s water planning efforts across the state.
As we mentioned in the December Water Log, Upstate Forever was selected to serve on the Broad River Basin Council (RBC) and represents conservation interests in the basin as it relates to water quantity issues. The Upstate region encompasses two additional river basins: Saluda and Savannah.
Therefore, to continue the planning effort and achieve the goal of an updated State Water Plan, which requires eight RBCs across the state, more funds will need to be appropriated.
Lastly, UF is happy to share that Rebecca Wade, Clean Water Associate, was appointed to serve on the Saluda RBC, and UF plans to be involved in the planning effort in the Savannah River Basin when it begins.
2. The Plastic Pellet ‘Nurdles’.
The Plastic Pellet ‘Nurdles’ Bill (S.596), filed in 2021, was designed to close a loophole allowing companies to avoid consequences for spilling plastic pellets near waterways. This bill will bring companies that handle plastic pellets under SC stormwater regulations and require them to use best management practices for containment. Contrary to widely held belief, plastic pellet pollution is a pervasive issue across the state, not just a coastal issue.
If any of these legislative priorities concern you, we suggest you reach out to your elected officials, communicate those concerns, and request action. You can find information about your elected officials HERE. For more information, we recommend that you subscribe to Megan Chase-Muller's Legislative Updates by clicking HERE.
On Thursday, February 9th, Upstate Forever assisted the Lake Keowee Source Water Protection Team with hosting a stakeholder event at the World of Energy at the Oconee Nuclear Station. This event highlighted information about Keowee as a source for drinking water, the SCDHEC 319 grant and septic program, and information from Greenville Water and Duke Power. This was an excellent event, and we enjoyed sharing information about our work and other ways for citizens to be involved.
Rain Barrel Sale
Streambank Repair Workshop
UF is partnering with Clemson Extension to host a streambank repair workshop on Wednesday, March 1st from 10am-12pm. This workshop, hosted at Boscobel Golf Course in Anderson, will give you hands-on experience with repairing eroded streambanks from stormwater runoff. You will gain a better understanding of how these practices protect surrounding trees, slow runoff, prevent unwanted chemicals from entering waterways, and how it all protects essential wildlife habitat.
Please RSVP by February 24th by emailing Rebecca Wade, Clean Water Associate, at email@example.com. RSVP as soon as possible as registrations are first come, first served, and we request that all organizations limit their registrations to just three participants (any additional registrant will be added to a waitlist) because this will be a small group.
This streambank repair workshop is being implemented as a best management practice (BMP) in accordance with our watershed-based plan for the Three and Twenty Creek Watershed. Therefore, this project was funded wholly or in part by the US EPA under a Section 319 Grant through SC DHEC to reduce bacteria, nutrient, and sediment pollution in the Three and Twenty Creek Watershed.
Jewish Film Festival
UF is excited to share our partnership with the Greenville Jewish Film Festival Spring Fest on March 9th, 2023. On opening day, March 9th, UF and other local clean water organizations, Friends of the Reedy River and Save Our Saluda, will be discussing local water advocacy issues after the film. Mark your calendars to attend this event from 6-8:30pm! For more information about this event, and to purchase your ticket(s), visit the Film Festival’s website!
Come see UF staff and other environmental partners at the 10th Annual Oconee BellFest on Saturday, Marth 18th from 10am-3pm. This event is hosted by Friends of Jocassee at Devils Fork State Park. The Bellfest celebrates the Oconee Bell, one of the rarest wildflowers in the world, and only bloom in the Jocassee Gorges region and around the streams of Lake Jocassee and Lake Keowee in the United States. Come and enjoy Oconee Bell history, interpretive trail walks, live music, food trucks, and other exhibits.
Friends of the Reedy Spring River Clean Up
Save the date for Friends of the Reedy River’s Spring River Cleanup on April 1st. We can’t wait to see you there!
Anderson County Soil and Water Conservation: Barrels and Beer 2023!
Also on April 1st, consider joining members of UF staff at the 5th Annual Barrels and Beer from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM! For just $45 you can enjoy a family friendly event that includes information about drinking water resources in the Three & Twenty Creek Watershed, paint your own rain barrel, and a beer! To register for this event, click HERE.
Lake Hartwell Partners for Clean Water: Spring Clean Up Join members of the Lake Hartwell Partners for Clean Water on Saturday April 22nd from 9:00 AM to noon at one of seven different clean up locations. We will see you there!
Until next time . . .
Thank you for signing up to receive The Water Log, Upstate Forever’s email newsletter dedicated to Clean Water news, issues, and information. We appreciate your interest and dedication to safeguarding the Upstate’s water resources.
If you have any questions about this topic or would like to learn about another Clean Water issue in a future edition, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.