What has Been Happening Locally?
Continuing efforts by the Congaree Riverkeeper group: to eliminate the wastewater discharges from the Lower Saluda River as Bill Stangler notes below as the discharge just below the Saluda Shoals boat landing and viewing platform is no longer in use.
The Midlands River Coalition: that Bill Stangler helped to start is soon going live with 2018 water quality postings for the Lower Saluda at the following site: http://howsmyscriver.org/ . The Coalition also was recently presented with a check for $250,00 from Carolina Water Service (just renamed Blue Granite) as part of the Settlement Agreement Bill helped to engineer for the Riverkeeper suit to get one of their poorly operating plants tied into the regional Lexington County line (instead of directly into the Saluda below the I20 bridge). It is hoped that the funds can be used to expand the reporting program from 6 to 12 months, along with more signs on the rivers re the website and other public educational needs. That could mean that there would be water quality postings in the winter months when so many are trout fishing as the site is now only reporting for the warmer months from spring to fall.
The Lower Saluda Riverwalk is going to be complete this year and some local residents are concerned with what public access will do to the 3 mile stretch of the Lower Saluda River closest to Columbia.
“This is going to knock people’s socks off,” said Mike Dawson, executive director of the River Alliance, an organization pledged to opening up the city’s three rivers to the public. “It’s drop dead gorgeous here, and no one can get to it. Now there is going to be public access.”
Trophy Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout live year round in the Lower Saluda and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has now confirmed the Rainbow Trout are reproducing between malfunction junction and downtown Columbia. This is the southernmost reproducing trout fishery on the east coast. Trout need high dissolved oxygen levels and cold water. The stocked rainbow and brown trout are not only surviving but thriving thanks to the cold water from the bottom of Lake Murray and new oxygen regulations implemented over the last few years.
The new access to the Lower Saluda River will be an irreplaceable asset for generations. SRTU and SCDNR hope that a thriving trout population is a key part of this.