Santee Spring

I am Mark Bruce and would like to discuss an opportunity with you to do a spring clean up in your area in the up coming spring months.  Interested parties located within the Santee River Watershed need to email me as soon as possible so that we can get an early start on the summer time fun.

 p. s. Here is my email so that you can contact me:

Early New Year

The New Year arrived early for the Santee Riverkeeper Alliance.  Earlier this past autumn, Mitch Seruya, from Sumter, South Carolina, notified the executive director of the Alliance that his family is donating a boat for the Alliance's efforts in protecting water quality within the Santee River Watershed.  Seruya, a professional angler from the southeast, knows that better water quality means better fishing.  The Alliance sincerely thanks the Seruya family for their generous gift.  Mark Bruce says the boat will be put to good use patrolling the Santee River Watershed starting in 2012. 

Say You Will

Broken glass hidden under the water is dangerous to swimmers and waders.  While the water is low now would be a good time to walk along your favorite swimming area and pick up any sharp object lying on the shore.   Also, purchase some protective footwear to use while swimming.

Sewage Overflows-Balancing the Budget-Oh yeah they are related.

Sewage Overflows/Open ContainersIn 1972, the Clean Water Act was established to protect our waterbodys from pollution.  Furthermore, in 1998 the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) Restoration Act was established to prohibit possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the passenger areas of motor land vehicles.  The objective of both laws is clearly to provide a greater degree of public health and safety.

As of July 2011 in South Carolina just within the past 6 months, there has been a total of 280 recorded sewage overflows (sewage pipes are containers) spilling 1,870,154 gallons of sewage into neighborhoods, rivers, and streams, etc.  Extrapolating these numbers from a state level to the country level that comes to approximately 900 billion gallons of estimated waste water overflows that is introduced into our public trust waters illegally.  Each open container found in a vehicle is subject to a fine of let's say a national average of $100.00 per container.

As of February 2011, the public portion of the overall debt is 9.6 trillion.

900 billion gallons x 128 ounces/gallon = 115.2 trillion ounces of sewage overflow.

Using just 1% of the motor land vehicle open container fine amount we get a 0.08333333333 $/ounce fine.

115.2 trillion ounces sewage overflow * 0.08333333333 $/ounce = $9.6 trillion

Ironically, the total amount of potential fine revenue for sewage overflows is the same as the "publically" held portion of the federal budget deficit.  If the provisions of the Clean Water Act were enforced there may be an opportunity to balance the "publics" portion of the federal budget deficit while at the same time send a notification to those who pollute our public trust waters that we are watching out not only for the fishable and swimmable aspects of our waterbodys but also our health.

-Santee Riverkeeper

HR 2018

HR 2018 threatens the Environmental Protection Agency's authority of enforcement actions when an entity pollutes the environment and gives that authority to the states.  This legislation is a step backwards to the days prior to the Clean Water Act. Comparitively, on January 1, 1994,  Canada, Mexico and United States entered into a agreement named the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) which is an environmental agreement between the United States of America, Canada and Mexico as a side-treaty of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In effect, the creation of the NAAEC acknowledged the need for a cooperative commission for the protection of the North American environment in a similiar manner the Clean Water act granted the authority of the EPA to protect the public trust waters of the United States. The passage of HR 2018 in the House clearly demonstrates an attempt by those supporting this bill to circumvent the Clean Water Act that was clearly created to protect the public trust waters of the United States and thus the health of its people.

Toxic Waste Dump Checkpoint (near Rimini, SC)

According to my research, it has been 32 years since some of the first synthetic liners were installed at the toxic waste dump located near Rimini, SC. Also, according to the research those liners are warranted for only 50 years.

I have spoken with a state authority responsible for managing and maintaining the monitoring wells in and surrounding the toxic waste dump near Rimini, SC and according to them the measurements from the samples are within tolerance.

On the other hand, my opinion is that once ground water contamination occurs it is too late.  We have a zero tolerance campaign for littering.  How about a zero tolerance campaign for toxic waste dump contamination of groundwater?

Dedicated to U!

Dedicated to U!

The 3rd Annual Santee Riverkeeper Waterbody Rally is dedicated to U.  You are the one who loves water.  You are the one who walks the shores and picks up garbage.  You are  the one who says "pick that up."  You are the one who silently picks it up.  You are the one who notices.  You are the one that recycles.  You are the one who designs products with the environment in mind.  You are the one who buys products with the environment in mind.  You are the one who adjusts the burners to optimize the vortex.  You are the one who turns the light off when not in that room.  You are the one who plants.  You are the one who harvests.  You are the one who writes the memo.  You are the one who reads it.  You are the one who takes action.  You are the one who volunteers.  You are the one who donates.  You are the one who knows why.  You are the one who is curious and asks why.  You are the one who takes measurements.  You are the one who reads gauges.  You are the one who writes the rules & regs.  You are the one who enforces them.  You are the one who doesn't want credit but only wants to make a difference.  You are a responsible water shed citizen.  Clean water is not a gamble.  It is due to the efforts of all of U and the reason: Clean Water.  Here's to U.

-Santee Riverkeeper

Thermal Refuges (1 Reason)

Chapel Branch probably once was a thermal refuge during the hot summer months for whatever population amounts of the short-nosed sturgeon that still exist in Lake Marion. As of 1998, there were no accurate population estimates of the short-nosed sturgeon within the Santee River, Lake Marion, or Lake Moultrie. [1]

The cool water that flows from an underground artesian well at the head waters of Chapel Branch near Santee, South Carolina was a perfect place for the sturgeon to escape the warm waters of the lake during the summer months. However, at least for the past seventeen years the problem is that the creek has been filled in with storm water sediment and now there exists only a narrow channel approximately 15 feet wide and approximately 2 feet deep during the summer months. Flowing through two storm water pipes storm water is excavating and dumping sediment originating from the streets of Town of Santee and a gulch between Interstate 95 and Bass Drive. The flow of the creek has been all but dammed by the sediment.

The Lake Marion population segment of short-nosed sturgeon is considered land-locked. [1]

Other Reasons:

There are also other factors pertinent to the population decline of the short-nosed sturgeon: the introduction of invasive species that create predatory competition with the sturgeon (certain species of catfish), contaminants that interfere with reproduction (PCB's, waste water effluent), hydrological barriers that prevent the natural migration of the sturgeon (dams), and capture from fishing (bait and hook), etc. [1]

Populations Trends for Short-nose Sturgeon in NC, SC.

  • Winyah Bay, Waccamaw, Pee Dee, Black Rivers; SC, NC: unknown trend [1] [A].
  • Santee River (SC): unknown trend [1] [A].
  • Cooper River (SC): unknown trend [1] [A], 100-300 fish in recent years [3].
  • ACE Basin (Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers; SC): unknown trend [1] [A].

The short-nose sturgeon was listed as endangered throughout its range on March 11, 1967 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 (a predecessor to the Endangered Species Act of 1973). The NMFS later assumed jurisdiction for short-nose sturgeon under a 1974 government reorganization plan outlined in Federal Register Id (38 FR 41370). [4]

[1] 119 pages.
[2] National Marine Fisheries Service. 1998. Recovery Plan for the short-nose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum). Silver Springs, Maryland. 104 pages.
[3] National Marine Fisheries Service. 2004. Biennial Report to Congress on the Recovery Program for Threatened and Endangered Species, October 1, 2002-September 30, 2004. Washington (DC): Department of Commerce.
[4] 1 page.
[A] extinct or not measured or can't seem to locate (MB)


If there are any errors or ommissions, please contact

Public Trust Waters

Waterbody Lovers!!!

About fifteen years ago I attended the Annual Shad Festival held at Boscobel in Garrison, New York overlooking the beautiful Henry Hudson River.  While listening to one of the speakers, I learned something very interesting and new to me at the time.  Most, if not all, of the United States jurisdictional waters are owned by the citizens of the United States.  There are agencies and departments at many different levels that manage the public trust waters and they do their job with the resources allotted to them by the various budgeting committees.  We fund these agencies and put our trust in them to do the right thing given the circumstances that have to be considered at any point in time such as the rainfall amounts, the heat index, wind chill, the economy, how much fuel is in the tank, whether there's bread in the pantry, meat on the grill, and finally checking to see if that little 'ole yellow light bulb that is used on the front porch that doesn't attract flies at night isn't burnt out, and many more.

Water lovers from all around the world have a common mission to protect our water quality.  They come from all walks of life, nationalities, and parties to work together.  Each ones primary goal is to assist in a common vision to ensure that your water is pure enough to drink, clean enough to swim in, healthy enough for animals to drink and fish to live in.  They work long hours just as others do within other organizations and sometimes for nothing to seek out polluters, and to search for solutions with pollution problems and seek partnerships with like-minded organizations.

When I grew up on Lake Marion, I heard many individuals give their opinion about the water such as the water levels, garbage, litter, tires, and toxic waste dumps.  I was young then and was very far from understanding the dynamics, scope and ramifications of how water affects every aspect of our daily life.  My primary concerns about the water back then was where the schools of large mouth bass in Elliotts Flats were located and where the best place to place a few dozen duck decoys in Sparkleberry Swamp was.  After returning home I have found that some things have changed and some things have gotten better.  Some people still complain about the water, and some people do something about it.

Since the public trust waters of the Santee River Basin are owned by you, me, and every other citizen who resides in the basin, I'll call it mine, you can call it yours, and we'll take ownership and responsibility in continuing our best management practices (BMP's) to protect our water.  Sea you Water Lovers out on the water…

Types of Waterbodys

Human - an organic life form composed of 50%-70% water on average.
Ocean - a major body of saline water that, in totality, covers about 71% of the Earth's surface.
Basin - a region of land where water from rain or snowmelt drains downhill into another body of water, such as a river, lake, or dam.
Bay - an area of water bordered by land on three sides.
Bayou - a small, slow-moving stream or creek.
Beck - a small stream.
Boil - a body of water formed by a spring.
Brook - a small stream.
Burn - a small stream.
Canal - a man-made waterway, usually connected to (and sometimes connecting) existing lakes, rivers, or oceans.
Channel - the physical confine of a river, slough or ocean strait consisting of a bed and banks. See also stream bed and strait.
Cove - a coastal landform. Earth scientists generally use the term to describe a circular or round inlet with a narrow entrance, though colloquially the term is sometimes used to describe any sheltered bay.
Creek - a small stream.
Creek (tidal) - an inlet of the sea, narrower than a cove.
Dam - a barrier across flowing water that obstructs, directs or slows down the flow, often creating a reservoir, lake or impoundment. The word "dam" can also refer to the reservoir rather than the structure.
Draw - a usually dry creek bed or gulch that temporarily fills with water after a heavy rain, or seasonally.
Estuary - a semi-enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea
Firth - the Scots word used to denote various coastal waters in Scotland. It is usually a large sea bay, estuary, inlet, or strait.
Gulf - a part of a lake or ocean that extends so that it is surrounded by land on three sides, similar to, but larger than a bay.
Harbor - a man-made or naturally occurring body of water where ships are stored or may shelter from the ocean's weather and currents.
Inlet - a body of water, usually seawater, which has characteristics of one or more of the following: bay, cove, estuary, firth fjord, geo, sea loch, or sound.
Lagoon - a body of comparatively shallow salt or brackish water separated from the deeper sea by a shallow or exposed sandbank, coral reef, or similar feature.
Lake - a body of water or other liquid, but usually freshwater, of considerable size contained on a body of land.
Marsh - a wetland featuring grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, and other herbaceous plants (possibly with low-growing woody plants) in a context of shallow water. See also Salt marsh.
Millpond - a reservoir built to provide flowing water to a watermill
Oxbow Lake - a U-shaped lake formed when a wide meander from the mainstem of a river is cut off to create a lake.
Phytotelma - a small, discrete body of water held by some plants.
Pool - a small body of water such as a swimming pool, reflecting pool, pond, or puddle.
Pond - a body of water smaller than a lake, especially those of man-made origin.
Puddle - a small accumulation of water on a surface, usually the ground.
Rapid - a fast moving part of a river
Reservoir - an artificial lake, used to store water for various uses.
River - a natural waterway usually formed by water derived from either precipitation or glacial meltwater, and flows from higher ground to lower ground.
Run - a small stream or part thereof, especially a smoothly flowing part of a stream.
Salt marsh - a type of marsh that is a transitional zone between land and an area, such as a slough, bay, or estuary, with salty or brackish water.
Sea - a large expanse of saline water connected with an ocean, or a large, usually saline, lake that lacks a natural outlet such as the Caspian Sea and the Dead Sea. In common usage, often synonymous to ocean.
Slough (wetland) - the word slough has several meanings related to wetland or aquatic features.
Source (river or stream) - the original point from which the river or stream flows. A river's source is sometimes a spring.
Spring - a point where groundwater flows out of the ground, and is thus where the aquifer surface meets the ground surface.
Strait - a narrow channel of water that connects two larger bodies of water, and thus lies between two land masses.
Stream - a body of water with a detectable current, confined within a bed and banks.
Swamp - a wetland that features permanent inundation of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water, generally with a substantial number of hummocks, or dry-land protrusions.
Tide pool - a rocky pool adjacent to an ocean and filled with seawater.
Vernal pool - a shallow, natural depression in level ground, with no permanent above-ground outlet, that holds water seasonally.
Wash - a usually dry creek bed or gulch that temporarily fills with water after a heavy rain, or seasonally.
Wetland - an environment at the interface between truly terrestrial ecosystems and truly aquatic systems making them different from each yet highly dependent on both