We do our best to speak for the creek, advocating for sound development and restorative actions whenever possible.
Appeal Made to Reverse the City of Columbia Zoning Board of Appeal's Decision on Scrap Yard in Watershed: On April 28, 2021, Gills Creek Watershed Association and the Congaree Riverkeeper, represented by the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP), filed an appeal in circuit court seeking to reverse the City of Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals' (BoZA) decision to allow an auto scrap yard to operate next to Gills Creek. Our organizations believe this scrap yard has the potential to harm Gills Creek, the local community, and those who use the creek for subsistence fishing or recreational activities, and that BoZA made an error, failing to follow the required criteria in their decision to allow it. Read more about the appeal here on SCELP's website: www.scelp.org/cases/american-scrap
Intervention: Often, an outside entity can facilitate a better result when development decisions are being made. GCWA has worked with developers and government entities in a number of cases to improve outcomes. Examples include design and construction of Little Jackson Creek Elementary School on the banks of the waterway, and a very creative mitigation project that improved Jackson Creek in the upper watershed in exchange for construction damage at a point lower in the watershed. See Restore, projects archive for details.
Local Government: Since its inception, GCWA has worked very closely with local governments, coordinating educational messages, supporting staff, and monitoring government actions. We also assist members of the community in finding the right contacts within local government. See Be Eyes and Ears in the Watershed for more details.
Legislation: Occasionally bills that could have a deleterious impact on the watershed are introduced in the state legislature, prompting GCWA to join with other advocates to improve or defeat the bills. A recent example is the “dam safety bill” which actually removes a large percentage of the state’s dams from regulatory oversight. GCWA mentors students through the Conservation Coalition’s Lobby Day, helping them to speak to their legislators about important, relevant legislation.