Kershaw County, SC’s river protections are a national model

Wateree River Blue Trail | Gerrit Jobsis

Columbia, SC – American Rivers today applauded Kershaw County for taking bold steps to protect its clean water, calling the county’s new package of zoning rules a model for other counties nationwide.

On February 23, the Kershaw County Council voted unanimously to pass a new package of zoning and land development regulations. An ordinance is included in the package that will protect all rivers and streams by requiring a 100-foot strip of trees and plants along the riverbank to limit the amount of polluted runoff that flows into the county’s waters.

American Rivers has worked closely with planners and others in the county to develop the Wateree River Blue Trail, the water equivalent of a hiking trail, in an effort to reconnect communities to the recreational, economic, and cultural values of the Wateree River and to protect the river’s clean water. The county’s new river safeguards are an important part of the effort to ensure the Wateree remains one of the area’s most valuable assets.

Matt Rice, associate director for conservation in the Southeast office of American Rivers, made the following statement:

“We applaud Kershaw County for recognizing that healthy rivers mean a healthy community. The council understands that protecting rivers and clean water now will save taxpayer costs for water treatment in the future.”

“Protecting natural areas along county rivers and streams is a cost-effective way to safeguard clean water and wildlife, and ensure that Kershaw County remains an outstanding destination for families, paddlers, and anglers.”

“Kershaw County’s safeguards are a model for other counties in South Carolina and nationwide. Other communities looking to promote clean water and public health, and save taxpayer dollars at the same time, would be wise to follow Kershaw County’s lead.”

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