Save Our Saluda (SOS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2008 that works to safeguard water resources of the Saluda Watershed through environmental awareness and citizen action. We advocate for clean and sustainable river flows, riparian protection, and public access to our waters. We monitor and identify threats facing the river and its tributaries and seek effective solutions. Our volunteers participate in educational events and activities, work on local and state water policy issues, and facilitate river cleanups.
SOS has achieved significant progress in reducing pollution and increasing public awareness about the Saluda River Watershed in our local community. In 2008 when SOS was formed, we spearheaded a campaign in response to community opposition to a developer’s plan to discharge 175,000 gallons per day of wastewater into the North Saluda River in a reach that supports trout. Our efforts directly impacted the decision for a more environmentally friendly method of waste treatment through land application.
In 2014, SOS launched an online interactive watershed map of the Saluda River Watershed to help educate citizens about our watershed and its water resources. A 2016 grant from the Bosch Community Fund has enabled us to begin work to update and enhance the map to expand its capacity and functionality as an effective learning tool for the classroom.
In 2015, with the help of Southern Environmental Law Center and in partnership with Upstate Forever, SOS finalized agreements with Duke Energy for safe removal and storage of over three million tons of toxic coal ash from unlined pits on the banks of the Saluda River at the Lee Steam Station near Williamston. Removal of the coal ash is ongoing.
SOS is currently leading a collaborative effort in partnership with eleven organizations to develop a watershed-based plan for the North Saluda River and Saluda Lake to address sediment runoff.