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October 27th, 2023
By Rebecca Wade
Urban waters are the waterways that run through densely populated areas. They take on large amounts of pollution from a variety of sources including contaminated runoff from residential, commercial, and industrial properties, trash, and untreated wastewater.
However, if maintained properly, urban waters can provide positive community benefits like recreation, fishing, environmental education, and wildlife habitat.
The easiest, most cost-effective way people can protect our urban waters is by planting and maintaining riparian buffers: natural strips of vegetation along a stream, river, lake, or pond.
Riparian buffers protect water quality by capturing and filtering pollutants before they wash off land surfaces into local waterways.
Many urban waters are subject to abuse from poor land use practices, development, and waterway misuse. Repairing degraded and eroded streambanks and planting native vegetation helps stabilize them, and it is low cost. In collaboration with Clemson University Cooperative Extension, our Clean Water team has completed two streambank repair projects in Anderson and Greenville counties.
In the Upstate, residents can help maintain healthy urban waterways by volunteering for water quality monitoring with SC Adopt-A-Stream and litter cleanups. SC Adopt-A-Stream is a citizen science program that monitors the chemical, physical, and biological quality of waterways across the state.
To volunteer in a litter cleanup, consider visiting our local partner organizations for more information: Friends of the Reedy River, Greer CPW, Palmetto Pride, and Lake Hartwell Partners for Clean Water.
Thumbnail and header photo of Reedy River by Tom Blagden.