The Reedy River is getting healthier, and opportunities remain for one of the Upstate’s most recognized water bodies, according to a recent report card released by the Reedy River Water Quality Group (RRWQG), a local consortium of public and not-for-profit entities that monitors the watershed. The RRWQG and its member organizations partner with state and federal regulators to both reduce the effects of pollution and improve the public’s awareness and advocacy of the river’s health. It releases a “report card” every three years to update the community on its shared progress to protect the river.
The 2022 Reedy River Report Card places special emphasis on three categories: water quality, recreation and wildlife, officials said. Among the highlights featured in the most recent assessment is a 90-percent reduction in phosphorus concentrations since 1990. However, the report also indicates an increased presence of nitrogen in two local waterways that are connected to the Reedy: Lake Greenwood and Boyd’s Mill Pond. “Nutrient pollution, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, are one of the major concerns in our watershed from the standpoint of preventable pollution,” said Sharon Appell, the Watershed Biologist at ReWa, a member of the RRWQG. Nutrient pollution happens each and every day in our watershed; pet waste, fertilizers, sewer overflows, and soaps that make their way into the Reedy feed the continued growth of nitrogen and phosphorus in our waterways.” That’s why the information contained within the most recent report card should be shared with the community, RRWQG members said, particularly in light of another positive improvement noted in the report: the growing amount of park space within the Reedy River watershed. As more and more individuals continue to appreciate and enjoy the river, it’s vital that all Upstate residents learn how they can help protect its overall water quality.
“It might not seem like much but picking up after your pet in your backyard or as you stroll through the park spaces in the watershed can make a huge difference,” said Josie Newton, Watershed Scientist with Friends of the Reedy River and RRWQG member. “As more folks begin working in their yards and gardens, remember not to apply fertilizer if there is rain in the forecast; this helps prevent nutrient-laden runoff from entering the river. It may not seem like much, but little actions can have a big impact on our watershed and the health of the Reedy River.”
The RRWQG website contains more helpful tips on how individuals can play a bigger role in keeping the watershed clean and protected. In addition to picking up pet waste and the proper application of fertilizers, washing cars on lawns instead of the pavement can reduce nutrient pollution in the river. As new generations experience and enjoy a renewed Reedy River, it should remind all that sustained improvements are made possible only with the community’s continued involvement, said Newton.
The RRWQG asks that the public look at the report card and learn about ways they can help protect, preserve, and improve our local river. The RRWQG finds it encouraging that the days of the “Rainbow Reedy” have passed and that our river’s health is now a community priority. To read the report card, visit reedyreportcard.org. For more information on how to help protect water quality, go tocleanreedy.org.