Category Archives: Programs
Trash collected by ATB Surf Co. on a local beach

Trash collected by ATB Surf Co. on a local beach

Charleston Waterkeeper’s motto is pretty cut and dry. We are motivated by the fundamental philosophy that our waterways are public, and that they have been given to us in trust that we, the public, will watch over and protect these natural resources.

It is too easy to dismiss a problem by telling ourselves, “I didn’t create the problem, so it’s not my responsibility to solve it.” This is, in its simplest form, apathy. If we all stood idle expecting everyone else to find solutions to problems, then nothing would ever get done…ever!

Luckily, there are plenty of individuals willing to disregard this apathetic mentality by taking pride, taking responsibility and taking action.  When we refuse to allow the iresponsibility of others to degrade the quality of our waterways, we are taking a stand to protect and preserve our health, our way of life and our future (not to mention our favorite fishing/surfing/boating spots).  An example of this was recently featured in a blog post on a Charleston surfing blog, The Weekly Snewz.  The author tells of an experience he had coming face to face with an abundant amount of trash on one of his favorite beaches.  To read the entire article, “R-E-C-Y-C-L-E recycle” click here.

On Sunday, Januray 11th, Charleston Waterkeeper received a citizen report of some suspicious activity on the banks of the Cooper River. Charleston Waterkeeper responded to the report and captured the following footage. We are not at this time claiming that there is any illegal activity associated with the pumping of these apparent stormwater basins; however, we are currently gathering more information and will act accordingly.

Charleston Waterkeeper has contacted the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to inquire about any permits that may cover this activity. Charleston Water Systems does have permits out for road improvements and stormwater construction in that area. We have tried contacting Charleston Water Systems to ask specific questions regarding this de-watering but have unsuccessfully been able to speak with anyone knowing detailed information.

Charleston Waterkeeper will continue to investigate this incident and will post any additional information regularly. The Clean Water Act, “prohibits discharges to waters of the U.S. except with a permit.”

Alright, well not literally, but it sure looked like it last night. I was on the docks of Charleston Harbor Marina as the sun was setting and couldn’t ignore this amazing view over our harbor. Despite my always trying to be prepared, I unfortunately didn’t have my camera on hand. As a result, I was forced to use the next best thing, my phone. This not uncommon sight was yet another reminder of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. We must all take pride in our natural resources and act in a way that assures that they are appreciated, preserved and most importantly, protected.

Have a picture that captures the beauty of Charleston’s waterway? Send them our way…we’d love check them out. If you allow, we may even include them in our newsletters, website or emails. Send any pictures to

Charleston Waterkeeper is calling all boaters, sailors, anglers, shrimpers, oystermen, boat captains, kayakers, swimmers, surfers, kite-boarders, scuba divers, longshoremen, harbor pilots and anyone else who frequents our waterways enough to know them like the back of their hands. We are calling on all of you who live on a creek, a marsh, a river, the harbor, the ICW or even a glorified puddle. Do you have a favorite fishing spot you frequent? We want to hear from all of you!

Charleston Waterkeeper is preparing to launch its community supported watchdog program. The program is designed to bring together all of you who are already serving as the eyes and ears out on our waterways.

If you would be willing to volunteer as a Charleston Waterkeeper Watchdog then let us know. This program will be an opportunity for you to share what you know, what you see, and what you experience in, on or around our waterways with the rest of the Charleston community.

Please send us an email letting us know if you would be interested in volunteering for the program. Give us some idea of why you want to volunteer, what waterway you would like to monitor and why, and what you can “bring to the table” (whatever that means).

Some potential requirements of a Charleston Waterkeeper Watchdog may include the following:

  • Taking photographs and videos of your waterway
  • Documenting sources of pollution or contamination
  • Monitoring the waterway and noting regular observations, etc.
  • Taking water quality samples with provided sampling equipment
  • Organizing regular cleanup days for your designated waterway
  • Helping to educate fellow citizens about the health of your waterway
  • Advocating for the preservation and protection of your waterway while advocating against its pollution

So, if this sounds like something you can sink your teeth into, we’d love to hear from you… Shoot us an email (

Dean Naujoks, former Upper Neuse Riverkeeper, has just completed the site visit for the proposed Charleston Waterkeeper program. After 7 years as the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper (in Raleigh, NC), Dean has taken a position as the Waterkeeper Alliance’s southeastern representative.

The site visit is an essential part of the application process as it gives a Waterkeeper Alliance representative exposure to a proposed program. Despite flooding streets and torrential downpours, Friday’s site visit went off without a hitch. The massive amount of rain served as a blessing in disguise as it provided an opportunity to show Dean the incredible amount of flooding that occurs in downtown Charleston. We were able to see water gushing out of storm drains, resembling some of the fountains seen around the area. This serves as an obvious problem as all of the water backing up into our streets during heavy rains and high tides eventually drains into our rivers and harbor, carrying along with it anything that was in its way (gasoline, motor oil, chemicals, particulate matter, etc.). The EPA suggests that stormwater runoff is one of the primary causes of a degradation in water quality around the nation.

After a brief, but wet, tour of the peninsula and surrounding waterways Dean and I made a brief presentation at the county library. All those in attendance were able to hear Dean speak of his experiences as a Riverkeeper. There was a great amount of interest from those present at the meeting and I thank every one of you who came out to support.