Gills Creek Watershed Association (GCWA) Accomplishments (2009)
Leadership and Funding
- Completed the Gills Creek Watershed Management Plan in coordination with Richland County and the City of Columbia
- Acquired a Program Coordinator to assist with coordinating activities within the organization
- In September 2009, the GCWA organized its first annual meeting and elected a 19 member Board of Directors
- In October 2009, the GCWA organized its first annual “Wheels Across the Watershed” fundraiser
- Received a grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission to conduct water quality research throughout the watershed
- Received discretionary funds grant from Richland County to create an educational video
- Received funding from the City of Columbia, Richland County Soil and Water Conservation District, and other grant sources to continue funding Program Coordinator position throughout the 09-10 fiscal year.
As of December 2009, the Gills Creek Watershed Association has received a total of 9 sponsorships.
- Corporate Sponsors: BP Barber, Fuss and O’Neil, and Grimball Cotterill
- Organizational Sponsors: Spring Lake Company, Forest Lake Property Owners Association, and Upper Rockyford Lake Homeowners Association
- Government Sponsors: City of Columbia, Richland County Conservation Commission and Richland County Soil and Water Conservation District
Watershed Hotspots Progress
Cary Lake Water Quality Improvement Project
The GCWA is partnering with Richland County to address water quality concerns (particularly sedimentation) and trash/debris that has built up over several decades at Cary Lake
Forest Acres Walking Trail
The City of Forest Acres is working to develop the first public access point on Gills Creek behind Trenholm Plaza.
The GCWA received a grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission to create a partnership with the University of South Carolina to conduct water quality sampling research throughout the watershed. With the assistance of USC faculty, ten undergraduate students will collect samples of fecal coli form, ammonia, and BOD5 at several locations throughout the watershed in an effort to find the source of pollutants. A report on the findings of this research will be available to the public.
Gills Creek Watershed Educational Video
GCWA received a grant from Richland County to create an educational video that can be used to present at meetings, conferences, workshops, etc.
Tree of Life Raingarden
The Tree Of Life Green Team, City of Arcadia Lakes, and GCWA partnered to build a raingarden at the Tree of Life Congregation off Trenholm Road across from Cary Lake which will capture stormwater from the parking lot before entering Cary Lake. It will also serve as an educational tool and demonstration site for the community.
Up and coming in the Gills Creek Watershed
The GCWA technical committee is developing a strategy to identify and priortize specific projects. This will be added to our Gills Creek Watershed Management Plan and will be available the public.
Updated Strategic Plan
GCWA is working with Diana Toledo of the River Network to focus, organize, and plan a cohesive strategy. A board retreat is planned for June, and stakeholders were interviewed in an effort to gather and analyze the current structure/progress of the Association.
Gills Creek Road Crossing Signs
The Richland County Soil and Water Conservation District made signs to be placed on major road crossings within the watershed. The signs will be on Gills Creek road crossings, Jackson Creek crossings, and at the entrance of the watershed boundary on major roads.
Outreach, Volunteer Coordination, and Public Input
- Keep the Midlands Beautiful (KMB) has coordinated many Gills Creek Watershed Litter Clean-Ups
- Organized a Public Input Meeting for comments on the Gills Creek Watershed Management Plan
- Developed outreach materials including a customizable Power Point presentation for educating a variety of different audiences, a brochure, a website (www.gillscreekwatershed.org), and hot spot maps so that the public could pinpoint where they believe problem areas exist
- In April 2009, the Gills Creek Watershed Association began a membership program. Since that time, we have recruited over 140 members
- GCWA staff, board members, and volunteers have presented information to encourage public interest and participation in the Gills Creek Watershed at multiple venues including neighborhood association meetings, conferences, and other organizational meetings
- GCWA staff, board members, and volunteers have set up informational tables at several events including Rooftop Rhythms, Nature Fest and the Forest Acres Festival