What is the vision of the GCWA?

By 2018, to be a national model for watershed management and planning.

Imagine the possibilities…

  • Citizens in Gills Creek Watershed enjoy biking/hiking trails, kayaking and canoeing, and other activities on the water.
  • All new development is carefully studied and analyzed prior to implementation to determine potential impacts on water quality.
  • Stream corridors are protected, as well as wildlife habitat, and restoration of stream flows is complete.
  • Water quality is greatly improved and best management practices are in place to ensure future protection.
  • Building codes are in place and support green development.
  • Gills Creek Watershed is litter-free, lake sedimentation and flooding events are greatly reduced.

What is the history of the GCWA?

GCWA was originally formed by members of several of the lake associations within the Gills Creek Watershed, who started meeting informally in the early 1990’s. In the late 1990’s, The GCWA became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

In 2007, Richland County conducted public out-reach meetings in response to pressure from DHEC to do something about the poor water quality in the watershed.

Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development under contract with Richland County developed formal a formal agreement with the Gills Creek Watershed Association and over the next two years, develop long term strategies for watershed restoration, stream mitigation, and other watershed management policies as a master plan. The Gills Creek Watershed Association Strategic Plan was completed July 2007. BPBarber and Tetra Tech completed the Gills Creek Watershed Management Plan in May 2009. The GCWA hired a professional program coordinator.

More current milestones and annual reports for the GCWA are available in the Archives...

Facts about Gills Creek Watershed

  • The headwaters start above Sesquicentennial State Park and flow into the Congaree River below Columbia and just above the Congaree National Park
  • It is represented by multiple jurisdictions including the City of Columbia, Richland County, Forest Acres, Arcadia Lakes, Fort Jackson, and the City of Cayce
  • It contains over 115 miles of streams
  • It covers over 47,000 acres of land
  • The population is 140,000
  • Land use/land cover in the watershed includes: 51.0% urban land, 25.1% forested land, 13.4% agricultural land, 8.1% forested wetland (swamp), 2.1% water, and 0.3% nonforested wetland (marsh).
  • It is among the largest urban impaired watersheds in South Carolina
  • Urbanization and development have and continue to cause negative impacts to water quality, including excessive stormwater runoff and sedimentation
  • We are all impacting the health of the watershed regardless of where you live within the watershed.

Current Board of Directors...

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The Gills Creek Watershed Association, Byrnes Building 430C (office), 712 Main St, EWS 603 (mail), Columbia, SC 29208, 803-727-8326
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