Clean Water Wins 2023

Your support this year empowered real, tangible action to monitor water quality, clean up pollution, restore coastal ecosystems, engage your community in hands-on clean water experiences, and advocate for cleaner waterways in your watershed! Here are the Clean Water Wins that you made happen:


  • 10th season of Swim Alert program completed
  • 480 water quality samples collected over the summer used to publish weekly reports informing you and your family about when and where it’s safe to swim
  • 3 years completed of monitoring hydrocarbon and pesticide pollution in local waterways in partnership with NOAA’s passive water quality monitoring program
  • 6 months of our microplastics monitoring program completed in partnership with researchers at the College of Charleston
  • 7 Creek Watcher workshops hosted to train volunteers to be participate in water quality testing
  • 49 Creek Watchers newly certified
  • 19 Creek Watchers re-certified


  • 20 cleanups organized to remove marine debris and plastic pollution from local waterways and marshes
  • 4.5 tons of debris removed from local waterways
  • 1,500+ lbs of debris removed from recycled oyster shells to help ensure only clean shell goes back in our waterways for restoration projects with DNR SCORE
  • $20 million+ secured in funding to clean up septic tank pollution in James Island and Shem Creeks 
  • Ensured Filbin Creek was prioritized for state and local clean-up investment


  • 60+ oyster reef and marsh restoration projects completed
  • 33,000+ Spartina seedlings planted that volunteers then planted back in the marsh
  • 0.25 acres of salt marsh restored
  • ONE new tidal creek created to revitalize the salt marsh near the Maryville and Ashleyville communities


  • 1,500+ community stewards mobilized to monitor, protect, and restore your creeks and rivers 
  • 40+ community engagement events including hands-on training and education, fishing tournaments, film and music festivals and water quality demonstrations
  • 13 volunteers trained for microplastic sampling and analysis
  • ONE Public Access Takeover event to launch a series to inspire the next generation of waterway stewards


  • Sued DHEC for failing to engage in a cumulative impact analysis before issuing permits for dense clusters of septic tanks near coastal waterways and marshes
  • Broke story on the link between septic tanks, climate change, and high levels of bacteria in local waterways
  • Pushed local and state elected leaders for stronger protections for coastal zone waterways from septic tank pollution
  • Stood up with conservation partners against overdevelopment and wetland destruction on the Cainhoy Peninsula

Charleston Waterkeeper can only do this work for your waterways because you (and folks just like you) choose to support it. Thank you for making it all happen!  Your commitment to clean water inspires us to go further and speak up louder to protect and restore the water that connects us all. See you on the water in 2024!

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