Yearly Archives: 2012

Today we join the rest of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of 200 water protection groups worldwide, in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. That’s 40 years of upholding everyone’s right to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water.

The Clean Water Act, established in 1972, is a vital component in protecting our local waterways. The focus of Swimmable Action Day is to encourage everyone to promote the importance of this Act, and to CELEBRATE our right to clean water.

So what are YOU going to do to celebrate? GO JUMP IN THE WATER–It’s definitely hot enough!

There are so many places to play in Charleston’s waterways. Are you going to surf at Folly, boat to Kiawah, stand up paddleboard in Shem Creek, Fish in the harbor?

SEND US PICTURES of your water escapades! Let us know where you are and what you’re up to.

I’ll get things started. Here’s a pic I took of my brother and puppy running around at IOP:

If your celebration of clean water takes you to the beach, be sure to check out our Swim Guide App for water quality information.

Swim Guide is great for finding and enjoying that perfect stretch of sand and water.

BUT you may notice from the picture on the right that our Swim Guide pictures are a little boring…

Our beaches are too beautiful and too unique to be represented by stock photos.

We need all you beach-goers in particular to SEND US PHOTOS of your fun times at Charleston-area beaches.

We’ll look through them all and populate the App with our favorites.

So go ahead, help us spice up this app.

You can email your pictures here.


Humphrey loves celebrating his right to clean water!

Charleston Waterkeeper North SailsWhen it comes to summer sailing adventures out on Charleston’s waterways, we have some exciting news for all of you boat owners. Thanks to our friends over at North Sails Charleston Waterkeeper has been selected to be a part of their Think Green, Buy Blue campaign!

From now until August 31, 2012, all you have to do is trade in your old sails to be recycled and purchase a new one. You’ll save 15% – 20% on your new sails, and Charleston Waterkeeper will receive a 5% donation. We are truly dedicated to protecting your right to clean water, and we know that the first step in celebrating this right is to get out and enjoy our waterways. Together with North Sails, we hope this campaign will make it easier to get out there!

So, dust off those old sails, get in touch with the team at North Sails, and prepare to start winning those regattas you’ve been competing in all summer–all while knowing your purchase is helping Charleston Waterkeeper protect and preserve Charleston’s waterways.

Contact George Durst
2020 James Bell Dr.
Charleston, SC 29406

On the 4th of July we celebrate being American and all the rights we have as citizens of this nation. We celebrate our right to freely express our thoughts, to hang out together, to enjoy public natural resources and parks, and to have clean water.

Over the past few years 4th of July festivities have resulted in the trashing of our beaches and waterways. Be it at the beach or the harbor, its a recurring problem for Charleston.

We spoke to local surfer Terry Manier to learn more about the most recent incident of litter at Folly Beach.

Terry and his family had rented a beach house on 9th Street for their annual family reunion. They found the beach so chaotic on the 4th that they didn’t feel comfortable staying there with their children. They left to see a movie instead.

When Terry returned to the Beach around 6 pm, he found about three quarters of beach-goers had gone. But all of their belongings and trash had been left behind.

“It was so bizarre–like the Rapture happened,” Terry told us. “People left everything: sandals, games, umbrellas, tarps, coolers–everything was floating around in the water.”

“Trash bags were heaped on the dunes. Others had washed into the water with the rising tide, rolling in the waves like tumble weeds. And cigarette butts were everywhere.”

“Instead of foam on the tideline it was cigarette butts,” Terry described.

He and a handful of others collected 128 bags of trash from the 10th Street area. They worked against the clock to keep trash from being washed into the ocean as the tide made its way toward the dunes.

A big thanks goes out to Terry and other beach-goers for preventing the garbage from entering our water. But Terry emphatically tells us, “I don’t want people to go to the beach and expect other people to pick up after them.”

Local Trash Collection Policies

Beach communities take extra precautions for busy holiday weekends. We contacted officials at our local beaches to see what they did.

Lisa Darrow, Assistant to the Administrator for the town of Sullivan’s Island, told us that with a lot of preventative action and a little bit of luck, Sullivan’s Island beach-goers were able to have fun without any resulting trash problems. Darrow explain that after an incident a few years back Sullivan’s Island has established vigilant actions to help people have fun, clean beach experiences. They put out extra trash cans over the summer, and add even more during holidays such as the 4th of July. They also have extra trash collection cycles to make sure the trash cans don’t overflow. Measures like requiring parties of more than 20 people to be registered helps cut down on the amount of litter and trash in any one spot.

Emily Dziuban, Assistant to the Administrator at Isle of Palms, told us, “the City’s Public Works department is on the ‘front lines’ of planning for and collecting debris related to the holiday, but many volunteers make a big contribution.” IOP has yellow trash barrels on beach access paths that are emptied into six yard dumpsters for collection. This year the Island increased the number of barrels by 50%, and emptied the barrels into the dumpsters more frequently on July 4th and 5th. IOP is unique in that its Public Works staff also cleans the beach itself on July 4th and 5th. Interestingly, the most common type of litter was chairs, tents, and umbrellas.

City of Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwim told us Folly also increases the number of trash cans and trash pick-up cycles during the summer. The trash cans stand at the entrance to each public access point. “We can’t place them directly on the beach because the erosion inhibits pick-up,” Goodwin explained. The Folly Beach community also plays an important part. Volunteer groups like Charleston Surfrider regularly hold organized beach sweeps of Folly Beach.

Clean Water is a Shared Right and a Shared Responsibility

It’s good that cities and concerned citizens stand up for our right to clean water and pick up litter and garbage when others make a mess.

But each of us needs to take responsibility for our own actions. And make it clear to visitors and locals alike that it’s unacceptable to trash our beaches and local waterways.

If you read the Post & Courier article, “SC beaches drop in water quality in 2011, NRDC report says,” you might be worried about the water quality at your favorite beach.  Well there’s an app for that.  It’s our Swim Guide and it shows you where the water quality at our local beaches meets EPA and DHEC standards for safe swimming.  It’s based on the most up-to-date water quality data available so you can make an informed decision about when and where you get in the water.

We’re currently working to provide the same information and data about our local rivers and creeks–because we all know we don’t swim and recreate only at the beach. Visit our crowdmap to show us your favorite spots to swim, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard. We’ll test the most popular areas as part of our Water Quality Monitoring Project and publish the results for you.

We need your help to make it happen. Charleston Waterkeeper is supported 100% by people like you. Consider empowering our Water Quality Monitoring Project by offering your support.


Thanks to all you guys who “gave your liver to save our Cooper River” at the Railroad Earth concert last Friday. And to SweetWater Brewery who made it all possible!

Working to uphold our fundamental right to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water doesn’t seem like work at all. Especially when we get to join forces with SweetWater Brewery, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and all of you!

The concert at the Music Farm opened up with an inspirational show by Bison, the liturgical folk-rock band from Chesapeake, Virginia. Followed by a rousing set of speeches by Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone, SweetWater’s Director of Marketing, Steve Farace, and our very own Cyrus Buffum. In between Railroad Earth’s two enthusiastic sets, the Waterkeeper Alliance and Charleston Waterkeeper showed videos about our shared right to clean water.

Around 750 of you attended the Save the Cooper Concert. And together we raised money to put towards our Water Quality Monitoring Project and other initiatives.

But we’re not there yet. The Save the Cooper Campaign continues until the 4th of July. Please support our river by stopping by a participating restaurant/bar and buying a paper fish for $1, $5, or $10. For more information visit

Thanks again! We love working and playing with you crazy kids.