What is the goal of the river corridor and watershed management planning?
The primary goal of these planning projects is to create a community-based vision and management plan that combines the interests of economic development and protection of natural and cultural resources. Management plans, intended to guide future decisions about the river or watershed resources, address such issues as river-side (riparian zone) management, water quality, recreation, wildlife management, agricultural and forestry practices, and the economic development needs of the community.
Who is involved in creating river corridor and watershed management plans?
The management plans are developed by a planning committee, or task force, that includes a broad spectrum of river and watershed resource users and community interests. Landowners, local officials, foresters, business leaders, farmers, hunters, fishermen, boaters -- all stakeholders are included in the planning process as decision makers.
How are these river corridor and watershed management plans created?
While the specifics of the process vary somewhat from project to project, four basic phases are common to all.
- In the first phase, the task force identifies the major issues facing the river corridor or watershed and forms committees to study each issue or particular resource of concern. Past committees have addressed such issues as water quality, tourism, wetlands, wildlife, economic development, recreational boating, history and archaeology and economic development.
- Phase two is the education phase, at which time river corridor and watershed resource users and community members educate each other and the larger community about how they use the river and its importance to them. This phase allows for a more extensive exploration of the problems and opportunities facing the region. This phase typically involves such activities as issue forums, or public meetings with experts on particular topics; educational field trips to a water treatment plant, local industry, or timber operation; or canoe trips for project participants to reacquaint themselves with the river itself.
- During phase three, the management plan is written based on the findings of the committees and other available information. The management plan is non-regulatory in nature, comprised of a series of recommendations intended to guide the future use and management of the river corridor or watershed.
- The final phase is implementation of the management plan. The challenge of this phase of the project is to encourage local governments, developers, business leaders and landowners to voluntarily put the project's recommendations into action. In some cases, implementation may mean a landowner utilizes best management practices on his river-bordering property. In other cases, implementation may mean local governments incorporating a project recommendation in a county land use plan.
How is a river corridor or watershed selected as a project?
A written request delineating the need for a river corridor or watershed must be submitted to the SCDNR's River Conservation Program. The River Conservation Program staff must evaluate the request and discuss the proposed project with the requesting entity. A limiting factor in project selection is the availability of staff time and funding.
Requests should be submitted to:
Barry R. Beasley
SC Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202