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What Is A Watershed?

We restore, educate and advocate for the Gills Creek Watershed.

What is a watershed? A watershed is a "precipitation collector" --an area of land that drains all the rainfall and small streams into a common outlet such as the point where a river joins a bay, or a creek joins a river. Watersheds can be small, like the Gills Creek Watershed, or huge--think of the area of our country that ultimately drains into the Gulf of Mexico through the Mississippi River. No matter where you live, you're in a watershed. The City of Columbia tracks information about the Broad, Congaree, Lower Saluda and Gills Creek--all major watersheds within City limits. For details about Gills Creek, click here


Facts about the 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, which annexed the former "Green Diamond" property.
  • It contains over 115 miles of streams.
  • It covers over 47,000 acres of land.
  • The population is approximately 140,000.
  • Land use/land cover in the watershed includes approximately: 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 caused, 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 we live within it.
  • Map of the Watershed
    Map of the Watershed
  • First Citizens Bank
    First Citizens Bank
  • Lizard's Thicket
    Lizard's Thicket
  • South State Bank
    South State Bank
  • wilson kibler
    wilson kibler
  • Boyer
  • G3
  •  Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union
    Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union
  • Coastal Science and Engineering Inc
    Coastal Science and Engineering Inc
  • GMC
  • cola health advisors
    cola health advisors
  • Southeastern Freight Lines logo
    Southeastern Freight Lines logo
  • Jack Oliver's
    Jack Oliver's
  • Hood Construction
    Hood Construction
  • Lamar Advertising
    Lamar Advertising

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