Resources for Stream Restoration Practitioners

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was awarded an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Wetlands Development Grant to assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) by identifying geomorphologically reference streams and collecting geomorphic data. This information has been used to assess North Carolina’s regional hydrologic geometry curves for stream restoration by applying additional South Carolina data onto these curves. Additionally, the geomorphic data, along with the large woody debris assessments will be available to support the USACE in regionalizing the Stream Quantification Tool (SQT) for use in assessing impacts to waters of the United States and determining credit need, as well as for improving methodologies for stream mitigation. The SQT is also a useful tool to provide better site selection for stream restoration and enhancements projects for not only mitigation, but also water quality improvements and other changes in functional uplift.

SCDNR acquired the services of Jennings Environmental through the S.C. Procurement Process to conduct the work.

The following information is provided to be considered as additional supporting tools for determining stream design and providing reference streams for use by stream restoration practitioners.

South Carolina Statewide Stream Geomorphology Data
Collection and Analysis Final Report
Stream Restoration Reference Site and Stream Fish Bioassessment Class Viewer

Reference streams were selected and informed by the SCDNR Statewide Stream Assessment and publicly available stream reaches. The goal of identifying reference streams was based on finding ideally a relatively undisturbed watersheds with stable land use over recent history; streams having freely formed meander patterns and functional floodplains in addition to healthy riparian buffers; and watershed drainage areas that generally ranged from 0.1 to 10 square miles. As available, USGS gage stations with drainage areas up to approximately 100 square miles were included to assist with hydraulic geometry estimations.

The geomorphological characteristics were collected following the methods outlined in the most revised version of the North Carolina SQT Field User Manual in combination with the Tennessee SQT Field User Manual. The Large Woody Debris (LWD) assessment was collected in accordance with the Application of the Large Woody Debris Index Field User Manual developed by Stream Mechanics and Ecosystem Planning & Restoration. All reference streams include collection of dimension (cross-sectional) data and as conditions allowed, pattern and profile data for a subset of the reference sites.

Denison developed a regional framework considering the effects of ecoregion, basin and local environmental variables on wadeable stream fish communities of South Carolina. This fish bioassessment classification system was utilized as the basis of the SCDNR Fish Biotic Index. View the SCDNR Fish Biotic Index Worksheet

SC Stream Quantification Tool

The SQT has been developed to assess and quantify functional lift and loss. The SQT can be used to determine credits or debits resulting from reach-scale activities typically encountered in the Clean Water Act (CWA) 404 program.

The South Carolina Stream Quantification Tool (SC SQT) is the collaborative result of federal and state agency representatives, collectively referred to as the South Carolina Stream Quantification Tool (SC SQT) steering committee. The SC SQT and supporting materials are adapted from the North Carolina SQT (NC SQT), which was developed by Stream Mechanics and Ecosystem Planning and Restoration with funding and technical support by Environmental Defense Fund. The regionalization of the SC SQT was funded by the SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR) through a Wetland Program Development Grant provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).