Working Towards Success
Freshwater Fisheries Stream Assessment
South Carolina has approximately 24,000 miles of freshwater streams and rivers in four major river basins: the Savannah, Santee, Pee Dee and Ashepoo-Combahee- Edisto (ACE). In addition to providing water and recreation for South Carolina’s residents, these streams support diverse communities of fish, crayfish, mussels, and other aquatic animals and plants. There are roughly 150 species of fish, 36 species of crayfish, and 29 species of mussels found in fresh waters of the state.
The health of streams is related to the condition of the lands that drain into them, called watersheds. Native forest and vegetation along streams provides an important function in filtering rainfall and buffering streams against runoff and sediment. By removing forest and streamside vegetation, too much development within a watershed can cause an increase in pollution and sediment loading to streams, leading to poor water and habitat quality. Many native fish and aquatic animals are sensitive to changes in water quality and will begin to disappear when this happens.