Scroll down and click the links below to learn more about watershed plans to address sediment in the Upper Saluda Watershed.
Watershed Plan for Sediment in the North Saluda River and Saluda Lake:
Save Our Saluda (SOS), in cooperation with seventeen partnering organizations, is developing watershed plans to address sediment runoff in the Upper Saluda Watershed. The planning projects are funded through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) Nonpoint Source Program with support from the partnership. The plans identify priority areas and strategies for watershed restoration and protection. Priority lands for restoration include intensively managed croplands in floodplain areas.
The watershed plan for the North Saluda River and Saluda Lake areas is complete and has been approved by SCDHEC. The plan for the South Saluda River is underway and includes the Middle Saluda and Oolenoy Rivers. These plans lay the groundwork for implementation of best management practices (BMPs) and other measures for sediment control to protect and improve the health of the rivers and Saluda Lake, which is the drinking water source for the Easley area. SOS is working to secure funding for implementation of the North Saluda plan.
Sediment fills in streams, rivers and lakes and carries with it pollutants like bacteria, nutrients, and other contaminants that further degrade water quality.
"Sediment is a significant problem for our rivers and especially for Saluda Lake. Water quality and aquatic habitat are degraded, recreational activities are impacted, and downstream drinking water sources are affected by excess sediment, particularly from the North Saluda River. Watershed plans are roadmaps for restoration and protection efforts to address this problem. We are especially excited about the wonderful partnership of local stakeholders that make this important planning effort possible." - Melanie Ruhlman, President, Save Our Saluda.
Partner representatives comprise the Technical Advisory Stakeholder Committee (TASC), which helps to inform and guide the plans. Approved plans enable eligibility for acquisition of grant funding to implement BMPs, such as agricultural cover crops and vegetated riparian buffers along waterways. The first project site is located near Marietta. The initial phase of BMPs has been installed at the site, which is leased for farming.
"Saluda Lake is a valuable resource to the Upstate both as a drinking water supply and a recreational outlet. It is our shared responsibility to preserve this resource for current and future generations. By implementing best management practices to control sediment runoff to the Saluda River, we are taking a big step in protecting this valuable resource." - Joel Ledbetter, General Manager, Easley Combined Utilities
Saluda Lake was dredged in 2011-2012 at a cost of seven million dollars. In 2018, the dredged area was already 2/3 filled in again.
Thank you to our partners!