Protecting Our Streams
Protecting the city's natural resources is vital to our economy and community. The Engineering, Stormwater, and Streets & Drains Department staff conduct the following activities routinely to identify and eliminate pollution in the community:
- Inspection of city-owned stormwater infrastructure to ensure they are working properly and to identify/eliminate unauthorized connections or discharges to streams or rivers
- Mapping stormwater infrastructure with GPS equipment as required in our small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (small MS4 permit) program
- Conducting inspections of private stormwater systems and ponds at commercial establishments, provide owners with findings, and give them a time-line to repair/eliminate problems that are impacting our waterways
- Water monitoring in our streams to track down problems and ensure compliance with the North Augusta Water Quality Baseline Assessment
- Walking down our streams and creeks to identify unauthorized discharges to them
- Conducting special studies in certain priority areas to improve water quality
- Prioritizing drainage basins and working together to guide development with water quality in mind, see the North Augusta Water Quality Manual to alleviate potential further impacts during construction and post construction
- Responding to citizens that alert us to problems by inspecting, identifying and eliminating unauthorized discharges in neighborhoods
In addition to these on-the-ground activities to protect our natural resources, there are city, state and federal regulations providing natural resource protection for our community. Locally, the North Augusta Planning Department, City Council, and Planning Commission drafted and adopted the North Augusta Comprehensive Plan in 2005 to help identify and protect our natural resources. The commission devoted a full chapter of the plan to our ecosystems in the section entitled Natural Resources. From the plan, the City Development Code.
A watershed or drainage basin is an area of land where water drains to a common waterway such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, river, or even the ocean. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes and cross local, state, or national boundaries. No matter where you are, you're in a watershed.
Watersheds are complex networks of water conveyances. Depending on what scale you look at a water basin, they can be broken down into sub-watersheds. Like a puzzle, the more pieces of the watershed you put together, the better picture you see and the more you understand about individual and state wide watersheds. The South Carolina watershed map gives us a better understanding of the basins right here in North Augusta.
Watersheds & Basins
Each watershed is made up of drainage basins that contain different types of streams. Perennial, intermittent or ephemeral streams generally lead to a main branch or receiving water at the lowest point in a watershed or drainage basin. All rainwater that falls, drains to the lowest point in an area (including underground).
- Perennial streams are identified by well-defined banks and natural channels that have continuously flowing water year round.
- Intermittent streams have well defined banks and natural channels that typically have flowing water from a headwater source for only a portion of the year.
- Ephemeral streams do not have well defined channels and flow only in response to rainfall.
- Groundwater seeps are locations where groundwater routinely seeps up to the surface throughout the community. The water makes up a lot of the headwater sources of streams.
Groundwater will flow much more heavily during wetter periods of time. Other times, during dry conditions, the water will disappear.
Savannah River Basin
North Augusta falls within the Savannah River Basin which is divided into three regions: Tugaloo/Seneca, the Upper Savannah, and the Lower Savannah. Most of North Augusta is located in the Lower Savannah River Basin. North Augusta's watershed, below, is sub-basin of the Lower Savannah River Basin.
Note: Federal lands, such as the Savannah River Site and the Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge, form a sizable portion of this basin.
To learn more about the Savannah River Basin, look to SC DHEC's Savannah River Basin Watershed Water Quality Assessment.