The Water Log: December 2023

December 18th, 2023
By Erika Hollis

As we say goodbye to 2023, the Clean Water team is proud of the successes we accomplished this past this year. With your support, we have made incredible progress in decreasing nonpoint source pollution in priority watersheds across the Upstate, kicked off the Tyger River Recreation Region master planning effort, and advanced the SC State Water Plan by serving on the Broad, Saluda, and Savannah River Basin Councils. We've done all of this while continuing to advocate for improved policies at both the state and local levels that are protective of water quality.

We thank you for your continued interest and investment in our work. We couldn't do it without you and truly appreciate your role in protecting the Upstate SC's precious water resources.

Happy Holidays,

Erika Hollis
Clean Water Director
Upstate Forever

2023 Successes

Completed Phase 1 of Three & Twenty Creek 319 nonpoint source pollution reduction program.

The purpose of this project was to address the long-term bacterial and biological impairments in the Three & Twenty Creek Watershed. These goals were met by tackling nonpoint source pollution (natural and manmade pollutants picked up by runoff and discharged into the nearest waterway) through a combination of agricultural, septic, and land protection Best Management Practices (BMPs) over 3 years. Working with stakeholders, we facilitated the installation of the following BMPs:

  • 42 septic system repairs/replacements
  • 65 acres of land protected
  • 150 linear feet of stream bank repaired
  • 8,800 square feet of heavy use protection area installed
  • 3,588 feet of livestock pipeline installed
  • 4 alternative watering sources installed

Based on the great response we received from local landowners the Clean Water team applied for and received funding for a phase two implementation project in this area. We anticipate being able to get started on Phase 2 during the first quarter of 2024!

Bishop Branch Pastures - A 65-acre protected property partially funded through the Phase 1 Three & Twenty Creek 319 Program.

SC State Water Plan

As part of the SC State Water Planning process UF has been selected to serve on the Broad, Saluda, and Savannah River Basin Councils (RBCs) representing conservation interests across the basins. Erika Hollis representing at the Broad RBC, Rebecca Wade at the Saluda RBC, and Katie Hottel at the Upper Savannah RBC.

Each RBC is made up of individuals from eight different water interest categories and is charged with creating a locally focused, sustainable water management plan for the region over a 50-year planning horizon. Each River Basin Plan (RBP) takes two years to complete and will include a collection of water management strategies including policy, legislative, regulatory, technical, and planning process recommendations designed to ensure a river basin's surface water and groundwater resources will be available for all uses into the future. SC DNR is currently accepting public comments on the draft Broad River Basin Plan. Visit SC DNR for more information.

SC River Planning Basins (SC Department of Natural Resources).

Received grant funding from SCDHEC to develop a Watershed-Based Plan (WBP) for the Rocky River Watershed.

The Clean Water team was recently awarded grant funding from SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) to create a WBP for the Rocky River Watershed in Anderson and Abbeville counties. Upstate Forever will carefully analyze the watershed closely to identify sources of pollution, determine effective strategies to reduce pollutants, estimate the actions needed to meet water quality standards, and create a cost-effective, strategic plan to protect and improve water quality in this area.

The Rocky River Watershed's location in relation to other regions in the Upstate that have approved WBPs and 319 implementation grants.

Ongoing Projects

Tyger River Recreation Region:

The Tyger River Recreation Region master planning effort is well underway. In coordination with The Tyger River Foundation and Bolten & Menk, Inc., we have been working with stakeholders to make this vision a reality. After hearing from residents in a public survey, we know that additional hiking trails and safe access to water are among the top choices for recreational activities. This project opens a 20-mile section along the North and South Tyger Rivers to the public, bringing eco-tourism and public recreation opportunities to the region. Our team aims to have this master plan completed and available to the public by Spring 2024. Thank you for providing your feedback about this exciting and transformational recreation initiative!

Tyger Phase 2:

As we close out year two of this implementation grant, we are well our way to complete our goals. To date, our team has completed 35 septic projects, protected 83 acres of high priority lands, installed a livestock stream crossing, and stabilized 1,315 feet of farm roads. Additionally, our team was happy to participate in outreach events including Discover Your Watershed and Lake Robinson Day to continue community involvement in this project.

This project has funding remaining for septic repairs/replacements, agricultural projects, streambank repairs, and land protection. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, click here for more information about how you may be eligible for funding!

Local Water Advocacy:

The Clean Water team has had a very busy year engaging in local water advocacy efforts. In Greenville County alone, Upstate Forever was engaged in reviewing and providing comments for the City of Greenville's new Development Code and Design and Specification Manual. In addition, UF has continued involvement in the development of Greenville County's Unified Development Ordinance. Specifically, the Clean Water Team has worked with other conservation advocates (SC Native Plant SocietyFriends of the Reedy River, and Save Our Saluda) to advocate for strengthening minimum riparian buffer requirements in the County.

Additionally, Upstate Forever remains engaged in local advocacy initiatives pertaining to thoughtful sewer expansion and riparian buffer protections in Pickens, Anderson, and Oconee counties.

State Water Advocacy:

Members of the Clean Water team remain involved in clean water conservation at the state level by participating in the SC Conservation Coalition and its water-specific action group, SC Rivers Forever. Through participation with these groups, UF remains updated and able to participate in collective conservation efforts being promoted at the State House.

Happy holidays and thank you again for your support of this important work.

We will see you in 2024!

Until next time 

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