Category Archives: The Great Oyster Point Runoff
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Grant Smith, one of the many honorary judges of the Great Oyster Point Runoff, prepares nearly 30 on-water participants for Poseidon's Parade.

Last month, as part of the Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Event Series, Charleston Waterkeeper held the Great Oyster Point Runoff on and around downtown Charleston’s Colonial Lake.  The SPLASH Event Series, presented nationally by Toyota in partnership with national founding sponsor, KEEN, is a national event program that engages local citizens in water-based activities.  Charleston Waterkeeper was the second of the Waterkeeper member programs to host an event, after the Hackensack Riverkeeper‘s River Flotilla held earlier in the fall.

The goal of the Waterkeeper SPLASH Event Series is to encourage the public and clean water enthusiasts nationwide to discover, learn about, and celebrate the many ways to have fun on, in, or by the water.  The Great Oyster Point Runoff was no exception!

“We came to a great realization: a community won’t truly appreciate and care for a waterway – enough to act to protect and improve it – if they haven’t personally enjoyed it!  We want individuals to protect and improve Charleston’s waterways, and the first step to making this happen is to encourage the public to go out and enjoy these amazing resources – even the ones in the heart of downtown Charleston!”

Participants of Charleston Waterkeeper's Great Oyster Point Runoff take to Colonial Lake for a day of celebration.

Throughout the day, over 500 attendees came by the Ashley Avenue side of the Colonial Common to enjoy the day’s festivities.  Between the Strada Cucina and Taco Boy food trucks, local oysters, beer from Palmetto and New Belgium, music from Mark Mandeville & Old Constitution and the South Carolina Broadcasters, SUP and fly fishing workshops, and dozens of educational partners including the SC Aquarium, SUP Cleanup, the Charleston Parks Conservancy, Charleston Community Sailing, and Surfrider Foundation, the Great Oyster Point Runoff had something for everyone!  In case you missed the event, here’s a great slideshow capturing the fun (a big thanks to Kathryn Wagner Photography for putting it together!).

The Great Oyster Point Runoff sought to encourage the public to experience Colonial Lake in a way very few have – at least in the last century! In addition to the on-land activities, the main feature of the Great Oyster Point Runoff was, of course, the water part! The day kicked off with an open paddle where individuals in kayaks, on SUPs, and even in Optis (small sailboats) scattered across the lake, while outfitters from Nature Adventure Outfitters, SUP Safaris, and Flipper Finders provided crafts for willing participants.  We encouraged everyone and anyone to “float a boat” on Colonial Lake! Eventually, the band of judges paraded down Ashley Avenue to announce the start of Poseidon’s Parade.  Onlookers from land watched as 30 boats gracefully made their way around the lake for a two-lap journey.    Shortly thereafter, the exhibition race began, and minutes later, it ended.  The winner of the Great Oyster Point Runoff exhibition race took home the esteemed championship belt.

The Great Oyster Point Runoff council of judges prepares for Poseidon's Parade!

Alex Herlocker took home the Great Oyster Point Runoff Championship Belt for winning the exhibition race. Those lifeguards sure can SUP!

For more photos from the Great Oyster Point Runoff, hop on over to our Facebook event album here, or check out Kathryn Wagner’s album here (if you choose to purchase prints from Kathryn, she will donate 50% of the proceeds to Charleston Waterkeeper!).

We were not only honored to host the second SPLASH event in the nation, but we were also incredibly fortunate to host Waterkeeper Alliance’s Executive Director Marc Yaggi and KEEN’s Care and Community Manager Chris Enlow (a graduate of the College of Charleston!). Both Marc and Chris enjoyed attending the event and are excited about Charleston Waterkeeper’s efforts to protect the public’s right to clean water.

The day was an incredible success! As noted earlier, over 500 people came out for this year’s Great Oyster Point Runoff.  The event provided an opportunity for the Charleston community to celebrate its fundamental right to clean, playable water.  Charleston Waterkeeper also had the opportunity to shed light on the issue of stormwater runoff – arguably the biggest source of degradation to water quality nationwide.  As part of our water quality monitoring program, we published two months of water quality data we had collected throughout Colonial Lake and Cummings Creek.  According to our results, the Colonial Lake watershed’s water quality is within “normal” limits and is suitable to sustain aquatic life. In total, the event raised $2,000, all of which will be used to advance our water quality monitoring program.

For the official release detailing the event’s success, go here.  There was also some great post-event coverage from the Great Oyster Point Runoff.  Check it out below…

We’ve received a lot of interest to do a similar event again next year… We’re sleeping on the idea, and we’ll certainly keep you all posted!
The event would not have been possible without the help and support from our sponsors, volunteers, vendors, educational partners, staff, board members, and all of you who came out to the Great Oyster Point Runoff!  Thank you!

For past blog posts related to the Great Oyster Point Runoff, go here.

On November 5th, Charleston Waterkeeper will host “The Great Oyster Point Runoff” on the Rutledge Street Pond (** a prize for the first person to leave the current name of this waterway in the comment section below **) and throughout the Colonial Common.  Clueless as to where these names are coming from and what we’ll be doing this 5th day of November?  Let us help to shed some light…

Over the next year, five Waterkeeper programs will be hosting events throughout the nation as part of the Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Event Series, presented nationally by Toyota in partnership with KEEN.  The series kicked off this past weekend with a 4-mile paddle, hosted by Hackensack Riverkeeper.  The goal of the entire SPLASH Event Series is to encourage the public and clean water enthusiasts nationwide to discover, learn about, and celebrate the many ways to have fun on, in, or by the water, all while participating in educational exhibits, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops, and coastal clean-ups.  The event also aims to educate local residents about stormwater runoff, the most common cause of water pollution throughout the nation.

Celebration of our waterways is a key component of what we do at Charleston Waterkeeper.  After all, if we weren’t all so passionate about using our waterways, we wouldn’t nearly be as excited about protecting them!

Without much surprise, Charleston is unarguably one of the greatest cities on the planet (if not *the*).  Outside Magazine even thinks so.  What makes it so special?  The people, the architecture, the beauty… But most importantly, it’s waterways!

For this reason, Charleston Waterkeeper was selected to be one of the five hosts to organize a SPLASH Series Event.  And so, without further adieu, we’re excited to present to you “The Great Oyster Point Runoff“!  The Great Oyster Point Runoff will transform a body of water that is, more often than not, reserved for visual admirers and not one with which Lowcountry citizens actively and directly engage (with certain exceptions… most notably, the dedicated anglers that commit to it as their favorite fishing hole).  We want to change that…

For one day (11.5.11 from 11AM-4PM), we will transform Rutledge Street Pond into a fun, festive site for kayakers, canoers, home-made boat enthusiasts, and water-lovers galore.  There will be water activities, land-based water workshops and demos, clubs and organizations on hand to talk about fun ways to get on, in, and around the water, local food, local beer, live music, and hundreds of passionate water-lovers celebrating our fundamental right to clean water.  The main display will be a boat parade around Colonial Lake.  We’ll be opening registration for the parade shortly and invite Charlestonians, young and old, to paddle around this great body of water, dressed in costumes that reveal your utter appreciation for this amazing natural resource.  Prizes will be awarded for a variety of categories, and if you’re not participating in the parade, there will be plenty of opportunity to get on the water afterwards.

The event is FREE and open to the public.  There will be a registration fee for boaters participating in the parade.  All funds raised will be used to support our water quality monitoring program.

Stay tuned to the event website – http://oysterpoint.org – as we update it with more and more details.  Registration will open shortly, but in the meantime, make sure to RSVP on Facebook.

If you’re interested in becoming a local sponsor, shoot us an email.

For our official announcement, check out the release here.  We hope you like it!