MARIETTA - A group of concerned citizens is sending an an SOS about the future of the Saluda watershed.
Save our Saluda is holding a meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 7 at the Marietta Fire Hall.
"We're citizens trying to help protect our water resources and watershed area," said Dianne Anastos, director of Save our Saluda.
Residents need to realize threats to the Saluda effect more than just Marietta, Anastos said.
"Easley gets their drinking water from the North Saluda," she said. "You are downstream from us."
Save Our Saluda formed as "an outcry to a developer submitting a permit to discharge 175,000 of treated wastewater into our North Saluda river," Anastos said.
"Which is a trout stream," she added.
The group held its first organizational meeting January 24.
Development is on of the biggest threats to the Saluda watershed, Anastos said.
The group began a petition that was sent to DHEC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and elected officials in Greenville County.
"We sent over 2,000 signatures," Anastos said. "The petition is our opposition to three pending permits."
The Cliffs at Mountain Park have requested the discharge of the treated wastewater into the North. Saluda, she said.
Cliffs officials have also requested a permit to construct a golf course, Anastos said.
"Creation of a golf course will cause major construction along the river bank area," she said. "Our objection there is major. They want to re-channel part of the river. That will cause a huge impact on the river eco-system."
A "no-discharge" permit requested by the Cliffs would allow the spraying of treated wasterwater onto the golf course, Anastos said.
"Which would be an acceptable alternative but their plan calls for the destruction of 70 percent of the riparian buffer,
"The natural vegetation along the riverway," Anastos said. "That takes away the filtration system. (The wastewater) is going to be up in the river anyway because you don't have that natural buffer."
Permit approval could be a "precedent-setting issue," she said.
"Right now there's no direct discharge on the North Saluda north of Highway 11," Anastos said. "That's one of our biggest objections because it's going to be toxic to the river. Everyone along the Saluda needs to be paying attention to this, it's not just a Marietta issue. It effects the whole area."
During the meeting, Save Our Saluda members will give a watershed presentation and give information about an April river clean-up and music fundraiser.
For more information on Save Our Saluda, visit www.saveoursaluda.org
Reach Jason Evans at email@example.com or 855-0355.