RED FLAGS LINE THE SOUTH SALUDA RIVER
Red flags line the South Saluda River marking the site of 32 rock vanes.
Saluda River Roots is a group working to preserve the natural flow of the South Saluda River. We are 72 names gathered in one Saturday, many having nine generations of heritage on the river.
Red flags were raised as we looked at past projects and found erosion and upset landowners. Red flags (signs) now mark where 335 dump trucks of boulders will be poured into 32 trenches bulldozed across the South Saluda.
Freedom of Information uncovered plans for 32 rock vanes, 2 parking lots and a canoe take out. All under the guise of "fish habitat."
Once upon a time members of our group, Saluda River Roots, were members of Save Our Saluda (SOS). At SOS meetings we listened as they dreamed of a kayak trail on the South Saluda. Pure folly! Imagine someone dragging kayaks in ankle deep water. But wait ... there is a waterfall on the South Saluda.
In a 2008 lawsuit Greenville Water System (GWS) was sured by SOS and Upstate Forever for replacing the crumbling 70 year old Greenville Water lines. I was then a SOS member at that time and dutifully drove to Columbia where I pulled the water line drawings, did the calculations and found the new 42" water pipe equaled the 2 old 30" pipes. Greenville Water System's drawings were nicely detailed and showed careful planning. SOS closed their ears and sued anyway and was outraged that 26 times wter pipes crossed under the South Saluda in an eight mile stretch. "Sediment from construction will ruin the river," cried SOS. This and "a 1/3 acre of wetlands with possibility of endangered turtles" forced Greenville Water System to reroute the pipeline through people's yards to satisfy the environmentalists.
Now fast forward to 2010. Could I believe my eyes? There is a DHEC permit in my mailbox to bulldoze 32 trenches across the South Saluda River in a one mile stretch of river. Hundreds of boulders as big as your living room couch are to be dug 2 deep into the river bottom, staked in place with steel post and stacked as high as 6 feet near the bank. According to the permit, 3115 cubic yards of boulders, average size of 6 foot by 3 foot by 2 foot are to be dumped into the river. 335 dump truck loads! Why is 32 trenches better than the 26 Greenville Water System planned?
The permit is for "fish habitat." A sister permit is being sought by the same people and SOS for a canoe take out. 32 rock vanes, each a 50 foot long, "V" reaching up stream and spaced 200 feet apart looks like a theme park. We wonder if there will be a major conflict of fishermen and paddlers.
Red flags have been raised! The South Saluda River is pristine, has no erosion, century old oaks dip their toes in the clear water, trees so big that three people can't circle their arms around them. Will these boulders cause erosion? Will the bulldozer's sediment wash downstream? Flooding upstream? Why are there NO drawings, NO calculations and NO studies of endangered turtles? Why are there NO impact studies?
God has gifted us with a Hydrologist who has 49 years of experience. Stay tuned.
Visit the River, it is beautiful, for now.
Communications Coordinator for 72 land owners on the South Saluda River,