February 27th, 2018
By Heather Nix
Catherine Heigel was honored with the Clean Water Champion Award at the 2018 ForeverGreen Awards Luncheon for her leadership in launching the South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream program during her time with SC DHEC.
With the rapid growth of the Upstate, it’s more important than ever that we evaluate the health of our rivers and identify concerns. Unfortunately, DHEC’s limited budget only allows them to sample about 25% of the named streams in the Upstate, making it difficult to know the condition of many streams. The Adopt-a-Stream program empowers citizen volunteers to help monitor water quality in the state’s lakes, rivers, and streams.
Typically, it takes years to create a program like this, but Catherine immediately saw the possibilities for expanding the program across the state and took quick action to make that happen. She recruited Clemson University’s Center for Watershed Excellence as a partner, and, about a year later, launched the SC Adopt-a-Stream program.
We celebrate Catherine’s actions to empower citizen scientists to help identify concerns in our waterways, which can prompt problems to be quickly corrected. This helps Upstate Forever achieve our mission of protecting water quality throughout the Upstate.