Facts about Gills Creek Watershed

  • It is among the largest urban impaired watersheds in South Carolina
  • It contains over 70 miles of streams
  • It covers over 47,000 acres of land
  • The population is 140,000
  • It is represented by multiple jurisdictions including the City of Columbia, Richland County, Forest Acres, Arcadia Lakes, Fort Jackson, and the City of Cayce
  • Urbanization is causing negative impacts to water quality, including excessive sedimentation
  • The headwaters start above Sesquicentennial State Park and flow into the Congaree River below Columbia and just above the Congaree National Park
  • We are all impacting the health of the watershed regardless of where you live within the watershed.
  • The Gills Creek Watershed is designated by the United States Geological Survey as Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 030501100203

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 2006, 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...

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.

Little Sugar Creek Greenway Project

The Little Sugar Creek project in Charlotte has been a major inspiration to many of us involved in the Gills Creek Watershed Association. Visit their web resources to for just a hint of what might be possible for the future of Gills Creek in Columbia. Stream restoration, greenways, and sensible re-development around an invaluable urban resource.

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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