Upstate environmental group Save our Saluda is getting $550,000 in grant funding to continue its fight to protect water quality in the Upper Saluda watershed, the organization announced in late December.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) grant will help fund partnerships between Save our Saluda and local landowners and farmers within the watershed who want to reduce soil runoff into the various tributaries that feed into Saluda Lake, according to the announcement. The watershed is a critical part of the Upstate’s freshwater supply chain, encompassing about 300 square miles of land in Greenville and Pickens counties.
Sediment from soil runoff is a serious problem in Saluda Lake and the surrounding system of rivers and streams, according to Save our Saluda.
With increased sediment comes loss of water habitat, a decline in overall water quality and a challenge to drinking water supplies, the organization said.
Projects completed in the Upper Saluda Watershed to date include cover crops, floodplain and riparian restoration, farm road stabilization, stream restoration, sediment basin construction, and drainage improvement and stabilization. Farm equipment (a roller-crimper and no-till seed drill) was also purchased through the first 319 grant and is available for lease to area farmers to help facilitate regenerative farming practices.
Additional information about the Upper Saluda Watershed Implementation Project for Sediment is available at saveoursaluda.org/projects/ag-implementation-grant.