DHEC, Clemson University launch statewide Adopt-A-Stream program
DHEC, Clemson University launch statewide Adopt-A-Stream program.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has partnered with the Clemson University Center for Watershed Excellence to launch the South Carolina Adopt-A-Stream program.
The program aims to promote and expand existing volunteer stream monitoring efforts across the state by providing a website for information, a database to maintain water quality monitoring data, training classes, and materials, and other useful resources, according to a press release.
“Our citizens deserve the opportunity to fish, swim, and play in clean rivers and streams and this program helps make that a reality.” South Carolina has more than 64,000 miles of streams and rivers but only 174 permanent stations to monitor for water pollution, according to a report by the Issac Walton League of America, a national conservation group.
Pollutants found in the state’s waterways include toxic metals, mercury, bacteria, acids, and more.
The Reedy River, which flows through Falls Park in downtown Greenville, has experienced severe pollution since the early 1900s because of nearby textile mills, sewage discharges and runoff from increased urbanization.
For example, Friends of the Reedy River currently holds two cleanup events each year, and Upstate Forever started an Adopt a Stream program, which trains volunteers to monitor water quality along the river and its tributaries.
Numerous volunteer groups from across the state have agreed to participate in the SCAAS program, according to Katie Buckley, director of the Clemson University Center for Watershed Excellence and Friends of the Reedy River board member.
Residents who join the program will be certified in documenting the conditions of a river, streambed, streambanks, and floodplain; tracking basic stream conditions over time; and monitoring for any indication of fecal pollution and populations of macroinvertebrates like crayfish, which are indicators of healthy or polluted waterways.
They will also be trained and certified in sample and data collection protocols designed to inform future monitoring efforts, infrastructure repairs, restoration priorities, and more, according to Buckley.