Watershed Watchdogs

Within a watershed, there are numerous factors that can have a negative effect on water quality. Pollution, improper construction practices, and malfunctioning septic systems are just a few of the challenges that can hinder efforts to protect our water resources.To ensure a safe and reliable water source for the Spartanburg region, Spartanburg Water has established the Watershed Watchdogs Program. The program was started in order to monitor local creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes for various activities that pose a threat to water quality. Watershed Watchdogs are helping to alert Spartanburg Water of any activity or pollutant before it enters our water supply reservoirs. Watershed Watchdogs are looking for any unusual activities or concerns such as:

• Animal Crossings
• Change in Vegetation/Aquatic Plants
• Beaver Dams
• Excessive Foam in Water
• Excessive Turbidity/Odd Color
• Unusual Odors
• Construction/Dredging
• Dumping
• Pulping/Clearing

• Runoff/Silt Buildup
• Vandalism
• Abandoned Vehicle/Boat
• Animal Carcass
• Drums/Containers
• Fish Kill
• Oil Slicks
• Trash, Garbage, Tires, Etc.
• Sewer/Septic Tank Leaks

Currently, Spartanburg Water Lake Wardens and Water Resources Managers have taken on the role of Watershed Watchdogs. Each week, our Watchdogs patrol our lakes and surrounding watersheds, monitoring potential water quality threats. Our Lake Wardens monitor the watershed by boat and by vehicle to assure that any potential threat is discovered before it has the chance to reach our water supply reservoirs. After a thorough inspection, each Warden provides a detailed report of any activities or findings so that corrective action may be taken.

Like our Lake Wardens and Water Resources Managers, you too may become a Watershed Watchdog! We encourage citizens who either live or travel through the watersheds around Lake Bowen, Lake Blalock, and Municipal Reservoir #1 to participate in this program. Our combined efforts can ensure the highest quality of water now and in the future.

Spartanburg Water is planning a training session for community members who are interested in learning more about protecting water quality in our lakes and surrounding watersheds. All participants who attend the session will have the opportunity to sign up for the program, but you may also become a Watchdog by reporting any of the above activities or concerns using our Watershed Watchdog Observation Checklist here.

Shoreline Protection

Spartanburg Water is dedicated to protecting its shorelines and buffers around Lake Bowen, Lake Blalock, and Municipal Reservoir #1. Buffers have several important benefits, like providing soil stabilization, filtering out pollutants, and providing wildlife habitat. Without buffers, erosion and sedimentation can quickly degrade shorelines, pollutants can more easily enter our waterways, and wildlife lose the essential habitat they need to survive.

To protect this valuable resource, Spartanburg Water has updated its Lake Blalock Buffer Management Plan.The plan, developed to protect the natural areas around the shoreline between the 710 and 720 contour lines, will help to preserve these natural features for the future and help to improve water quality.

It is anticipated that through time, shoreline stabilization/erosion problems may occur due to normal wave action. Currently, potential problem areas have been identified on Lake Bowen but have not been identified on Lake Blalock. Therefore, shoreline stabilization through the placement of rip rap, native rock, or other structural materials (seawalls, etc.) is not allowed on Lake Blalock. Residents of Lake Bowen wanting to implement these measures may submit a Shoreline Stabilization Permit by visiting the Lake Bowen Wardens' Office here.

Lake residents interested in enhancing shoreline and buffer protection may use several strategies. First, homeowners may choose to naturalize the area by discontinuing mowing. This will allow a natural progression of vegetative re-growth to stabilize the disturbed area. Second, the homeowner may choose to develop and implement a planting plan using a pre-approved list of native species here. All plans are to be conducted by a certified landscape architect and approved by the Lake Wardens’ office. For more information on planting plans, please read the following topics within Section 2 of the Lake Blalock Buffer Management Plan: “Lawns” and “Planting in the Buffer”.

The following is a list of circumstances warranting plantings within the buffer area.

  • Stabilizing eroded areas or areas susceptible to erosion
  • Improving wildlife habitat
  • Replacement of non-native species
  • Replacement of removed hazardous trees
  • Replacement of trees damaged by insects or disease
  • Improving overall forest canopy/health

Clean Stream Program

Lake SweepThe Spartanburg Water Clean Stream Program is similar to Spartanburg Water's annual "Lake Sweep" in that both water quality initiatives are focused on removing litter from our roadsides and waterways. The Clean Stream Program, however, coordinates smaller and more frequent events throughout the year. The benefit of this program is that clean-up efforts are expanded throughout the watershed, ultimately helping to further reduce the effects litter has on our water source and water supply.

Every day our roadways are carelessly littered with waste items like aluminum cans, glass bottles and tires, just to name a few. Unfortunately, these items eventually wash into our waterways, impairing water quality, littering our landscape, disturbing local wildlife habitat, and disrupting recreational activities. By reducing the effects litter has on our watershed, the Clean Stream Program will help to improve water quality and ensure an excellent source of water for the future.

Anyone who is interested in improving water quality within the North Pacolet, South Pacolet, and Pacolet River Watersheds may participate. Clean Stream Program volunteers may include local schools and colleges, Boy Scout troops, youth groups, fraternities, sororities, businesses, or any other interested individual or group.

Watershed Planning for Hexastylis naniflora

Hexastylis NanifloraThe Dwarf-flowered heartleaf (Hexastylis naniflora) is a federally-endangered plant species only found in North and South Carolina. Within Lake Blalock, Dwarf-flowered heartleaf typically resides within the buffer area. Spartanburg Water, in an effort to protect this federally-endangered species, developed the Lake Blalock Buffer Management Plan, available here. The buffer management plan sets regulations on the activities that are allowed within the buffer.

Spartanburg Water will continue to develop beneficial programs to educate citizens about the Dwarf-flowered heartleaf. The goal of Spartanburg Water is to protect this species so that one day it may once again flourish.

Learn how you can help protect Dwarf-flowered heartleaf here.

If you would like more information about any of our conservation programs, contact John Moore by phone at (864) 578-5442 or by email at jmoore@spartanburgwater.org.