Little River Mitigation Project Restores Wetlands and Enhances Water Quality
Nearly 300 acres along the Little River in Newberry County, near the small rural town of Silverstreet, SC, are now restored and permanently protected, thanks to The Little River Mitigation Project by Congaree Land Trust and Palustrine Group LLC. The project was designed to offset unavoidable impacts associated with an aggregate mine located elsewhere in the river basin. The property, now under conservation easement, will preserve green space and wildlife habitat, restore wetlands from previous incompatible uses and enhance the water quality in Newberry County and the surrounding watershed of the Saluda River.
“We were pleased to partner with the Palustrine Group LLC on this mitigation project to repair a creek that over the years has been straightened, incised and blocked. By placing contoured and curved banks along the creek, we were able to slow the water down, while planting the floodplain with riparian tree species will help with water absorption and filtration,” explains Mary Crockett, CLT Land Protection Director. “This area drains into a beautiful small river, the Little River, which is a tributary of the Saluda River. Protection of these small creeks in the Piedmont area of the state is critical to safeguarding our state’s wildlife habitat and water source protections.”
By remaining forested forever, the property will protect water quality flowing into the restored creek bed that runs into Little River, located within the larger Santee Basin. The Little River supplies surface water to cities and towns towards the Atlantic, via the Saluda River, Congaree River and Santee River. A significant view shed along the frontage road will also be protected—in addition to 2,713 feet along Little River— preserving the rural character of this part of South Carolina.
“Palustrine Group is thrilled to be working with Congaree Land Trust and Vulcan Materials on the restoration and protection of the Little River Mitigation Site. This is a unique opportunity to allow for an important economic development project to proceed while furthering conservation goals and providing significant ecological uplift to the watershed,” remarks Tommy Cousins of Palustrine Group LLC. “By working closely with Congaree Land Trust, we were able to identify a mitigation site that far exceeds the minimum regulatory requirements and will provide significantly more conservation area and aquatic resource restoration than a typical mitigation site. It was a pleasure to work with the Congaree Land Trust team throughout the permitting and development of this project. Thanks to their hard work and expertise, this 280-acre property will be protected in perpetuity.”
With the Little River conservation easement, CLT has conserved a total of 1,175 acres in Newberry County and a total of 317.5 acres in the Saluda River Basin. Little River, located in the Piedmont, flows into the Saluda River which then joins the Broad River to form the Congaree River in Columbia. The Congaree and Wateree Rivers meet to form the Santee River which eventually makes its way to the ocean. Working with private landowners on voluntary land conservation in our river basins protects our waters and enriches the natural history of our state.