The Catawba River originates in the mountains of North Carolina and flows through a series of lakes and unimpounded stretches for over 200 miles until it meets Big Wateree Creek to form the Wateree River at Wateree Lake. The Catawba River Corridor Plan focuses on the 30-mile segment of the river below Lake Wylie dam to the S.C. Highway 9 bridge crossing near the upper reaches of Fishing Creek Reservoir.
The Catawba River enters South Carolina flowing through the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill Metropolitan Statistical Area which includes over 1.1 million people, according to the 1990 census. The three counties adjacent to this river segment, York, Lancaster and Chester, have a combined population of over 218,000 people. Also, the three-county area's population is projected to grow by at least 12 percent over the next ten years. Thus, the Catawba is well-situated to offer its unique diversity of natural, cultural and recreational resources to a large and growing population.
The Catawba River Corridor Planning process was initiated in 1992 by the SC DNR in cooperation with the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the Catawba Regional Planning Council. The goal of this planning process was to create a vision for the Catawba River and its adjacent lands, to manage future growth in a manner that will protect the natural beauty, unspoiled character, and significant features that shape the Catawba River today. This planning process was citizen-based, to ensure that the resulting plan was wholly produced by members of the community in which it will be implemented.
The Catawba River Task Force was assembled, composed of people with the resources, expertise, and interest to provide a comprehensive overview of the river and the commitment to implement a final corridor plan developed by community members. Task force members include local government officials, landowners, and representatives of conservation organizations, industries, other local groups, and state agencies. Committees were formed for each of 15 critical issues facing the river corridor, as identified by the task force. Each committee developed a set of policy recommendations and presented them to the task force for discussion and approval.
A summary of the planning process and the resulting set of policy recommendations is provided in The Catawba River Corridor Plan, produced in 1994. While this report represents the completion of the planning process, it also marks the beginning of a new phase of the project: implementation. An implementation committee was established to take the lead in the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Corridor Plan. Comprised wholly of local citizens and decision makers from the Catawba region, this group remains very active in working on implementing recommendations.
Barry R. Beasley
SC Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202