South Carolina River Forum

Recently American Rivers and The Center for Humans and Nature organized the South Carolina Rivers Forum. The purpose of the forum was to raise awareness of climate change and potential effects on South Carolina’s Rivers and to create momentum for a South Carolina River network with the goal of enhancing collaboration to build river resiliency in the face of climate change.

The forum was attended by a diverse group of people with connections to South Carolina Rivers including academics, conservation organizations, state and government agencies, and people within the river recreation industry. We heard great presentations from Jenny Hoffner, our national director of water efficiency, from Blan Holman with the Southern Environmental Law Center, and from Bill Medlin with Legacy Paddlesports. Great company and awesome boats!.

The presentations which addressed the potential effects of climate change on interstate and water supply issues, on wildlife and water quality, and recreation were followed by breakout groups to further discuss each respective issue. Each breakout group identified strategies to protect South Carolina Rivers in the face of climate change.

One strategy that was consistent across the board was to build a strong and broad constituency for rivers across the state. This is the vision of our Blue Trails campaign; to reconnect communities to rivers and their cultural, recreational, and economic values. Blue Trails are as much about people as they are about the physical trail. One of the biggest strengths of a blue trail is its ability to bring people together that may not otherwise have much in common. If we are going to be successful building resilient rivers and protecting our lands in the face of climate change we are going to need to work together even if that means sitting down at the table with someone you otherwise wouldn’t.