Watershed protection planning underway for the North Saluda River and Saluda Lake

Save Our Saluda is pleased to announce a grant award of $54,550 from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Nonpoint Source Program to complete a cooperative watershed plan to address sediment in the North Saluda River and Saluda Lake. Eleven cooperating partners are providing financial and technical support for the planning project, coordinated through SOS.

Silt load at the confluence of the North and South Saludas
The confluence of the North and South Saludas after a rain

The watershed plan will lay the groundwork for implementation of best management practices (BMPs) to help control sediment runoff. Sediment is a significant pollutant affecting water supply, water quality, aquatic habitat and recreational uses in the North Saluda River downstream to Saluda Lake. The lake is a drinking water source for the Easley area. Excess sediment not only fills in rivers and lakes, it carries with it pollutants like bacteria, nutrients from fertilizers, and pesticides that further degrade water resources.

"The upper part of the lake was dredged at significant expense in 2012 and is already filling in with sediment again. The plan will be a roadmap for restoration and protection efforts and will help facilitate funding for future watershed protection projects. I am especially excited about the wonderful partnership of organizations that have agreed to cooperate and help guide the project." - Melanie Ruhlman, President, Save Our Saluda

Saluda Lake

The plan will include recommendations for a combination of practices for erosion and sediment control, such as vegetated buffers along waterways, with a focus on agricultural land uses in floodplain areas. The first site for implementation has already been identified near Marietta, and funding has been obtained to complete the first phase of restoration and protection activities.

"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 in the North Saluda River, we are taking a big step in preserving this valuable resource." - Joel Ledbetter, General Manager, Easley Combined Utilities