The Water Log: May 2023

May 3rd, 2023
By Erika Hollis

Hello Clean Water Advocates!

At Upstate Forever, we are uniquely positioned to tackle a variety of conservation efforts with our varied, comprehensive, and complementary program areas. While we typically spend a lot of time in this newsletter describing water related projects and initiatives, we wanted to take this opportunity to share how the land conservation and clean water programs work together to protect and enhance water quality through land protection.

Read on to better understand the underlying connection between water quality and land protection. In addition, learn about some of the properties we have protected within our priority watersheds.


Erika Hollis
Clean Water Director
Upstate Forever

Calico Vineyard - Upstate Forever Protected Property

How does land protection relate to clean water?  

There is an innate connection between what happens on our land and the health of the water that flows through it. Land trusts, like the one we have at UF, are perfectly positioned to lead water quality efforts that are critical to the communities where they work.

A land trust is a nonprofit organization which works to permanently conserves land. At UF, the Land Conservation program partners with landowners to protect the special places they and their communities cherish. If you own land with important natural resources, a voluntary conservation agreement can protect the land you love while you continue to own and manage it for traditional uses. You can also receive some significant tax benefits.

To date, UF's land trust protects over 30,000 acres across 150 properties and was the first land trust organization in South Carolina to receive national accreditation. Many of the protected properties that UF helps to manage protect wetlands, headwaters, floodplains, and other riparian corridors that are essential to intercept and filter polluted precipitation and stormwater runoff. By protecting high priority parcels across the Upstate, we are able to prevent certain land uses that can negatively impact water quality. Therefore, land protection is one of the recommended Best Management Practices (BMPs) the Clean Water program promotes through the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) funded 319 implementation grant programs.

Recently protected properties in our priority watersheds:

Using SCDHEC 319 grant funding, the Clean Water Team is able to assist landowners who choose to protect their property with a conservation easement by helping pay for a portion of the closing fees associated with the process. This is just one of many ways that our team works cooperatively with our Land Protection team to maximize the impact of both UF programs within priority watersheds such as the Tyger River watersheds and the Three & Twenty Creek Watershed.

Blackwell Farm

This property, located in the South Tyger River Watershed, consists of just over 50 acres of pastureland and forestland. Protection of this property provides many conservation benefits such as the protection of scenic views, preservation of agricultural productivity, preservation of natural fish and wildlife habitat, and being in close proximity to other protected properties to provide habitat connectivity. This property is situated in the Tyger River Headwaters and is in an area identified as providing critical ecosystem services that are essential to the resilience and healthy of this watershed.

Ariel view of Blackwell Farms

Beaverdam Creek Preserve

Protected in February of this year, this 33-acre property is nestled amongst extreme development pressure in unincorporated Greenville County within the South Tyger River Watershed. This parcel was protected in order to maintain wildlife habitat as it was the last of three tracts developed into a 205-acre subdivision. Moreover, this property also encompasses roughly 11 acres of wetlands and 5,000 feet of frontage on Beaverdam Creek, which drains into the South Tyger River. Protection of this property provides essential wildlife habitat, flood water recharge areas within its wetlands, and critical river frontage in this swiftly developing space at the headwaters of the Tyger River watersheds.

Critical wetlands and wildlife habitat in Beaverdam Creek Preserve

Bishop Branch Pastures

This protected property encompasses nearly 65 acres of pastureland and wildlife habitat in central Three & Twenty Creek Watershed. In addition to the fertile and productive agricultural lands in this property, it maintains 15 acres of wetlands. Protection of this property, who's waters flow into the critical drinking water intake at Anderson Regional Joint Water Systems, helps to filter pollutants out of the drinking water that is provided to over 200,000 customers across Anderson and Pickens counties.

Bishop Branch Pastures protected pastureland

Upcoming Events:

Discover Your Watershed -May 13th, 2023

Join the Clean Water Team at Lyman Lake in just a couple weekends to learn about our water resources and to enjoy some family fun! This FREE event is an excellent opportunity to connect with like-minded environmental organizations and to enjoy free canoe/kayak rentals, stand-up paddleboard lessons, and even a BBQ lunch! Register today with Spartanburg County Parks HERE!

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.  

To learn more about Clemson Extension's Stream Bank Repair program, visit their website.

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

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