News From The River

See the Latest Water Quality Monitoring Data from the FoRR Monitoring Team!

FoRR took to the river on November 20 to monitor three sites in the Reedy River watershed:

Site #1: Reedy River just downstream of Swamp Rabbit Café

Site #2: A small tributary of the Reedy River in Falls Park

Site #3: Reedy River on Mauldin Road upstream of ReWa's headquarters

Above: Low DO and high turbidity at Falls Park.

The pH results for October were slightly lower than our findings in September, with the average pH dropping from about 6.5 to 6 in November. This correlates with seasonal changes and is not cause for concern.

November’s air and water temperatures did not change significantly from October’s air and water temperatures. The air temperatures varied only slightly and ranged from 11°C to 13.5°C and the water temperatures stayed consistent at 13°C at all three sites again this month.

The E. coli bacteria results from November’s sampling event were low with all three sites only producing 200 CFU/100mL each. Falls Park and Mauldin Road did not show much change from last month with only a slight decrease and increase of 67 CFU/100mL, respectively. The Swamp Rabbit Café (SRC) site’s E. coli levels also returned to normal levels this month with only 200 CFU/100mL as opposed to the 733 CFU/100mL when we sampled last month. All E. coli results were well below the “high threshold” of 349 CFU/100mL.

November’s dissolved oxygen (DO) at our SRC and Mauldin Road sites changed minimally from October’s levels. SRC decreased from 7.85 mg/L to 7.1 mg/L and Mauldin Road decreased from 7.7 mg/L to 7.45 mg/L. These slightly lower levels can be attributed to the low water levels still present in our watershed due to the drought conditions pre-dating the time of sampling. We expect the DO levels at these sites to rise again once water levels are back to normal, especially as temperatures continue to drop and stay consistently cool. The DO levels at Falls Park this month, however, were problematic…

The Falls Park DO level during this month’s sampling outing was only 1.2 mg/L. The SC Adopt-a-Stream state standards (formulated by SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and Clemson University’s Center for Watershed Excellence) dictate that “for the majority of South Carolina’s freshwater streams, DO levels must average 5 mg/L and be no less than 4 mg/L to meet state standards”. Aside from this month’s sampling event, the lowest DO ever recorded at this site since it was first sampled in June 2019 was only 5.4 mg/L (August 2023), which is much higher than we found during this sampling outing.

While sampling at the Falls Park site, we noted high volumes of leaf litter present in the stream and an aquatic plant (ludwigia sp.) covering a large portion of the tributary. We typically see small minnows and amphibians or their eggs here but could not see any this month. The leaf litter was quite thick and was not moving with the stream due to the high volume of leaves and low water levels. The water was murky with a lot of decomposing debris floating in the water. When heavy leaf cover decomposes, the bacteria responsible for the decay utilize most of the oxygen in the water, which can lead to low DO levels. Additionally, prolific aquatic plant growth, especially ludwigia, is known to impact DO levels since the plants can form an impenetrable mat on top of the water’s surface that prevents water from mixing with the air above, leading to reduced DO re-introduction as existing DO is utilized. Heavy leaf litter combined with the aquatic plant growth and low flows in this area likely contributed to the low DO levels in Falls Park this month.

The turbidity at the Falls Park site was also very high at 65 NTUs, compared to only 5 NTUs at both Mauldin Rd. and SRC. We were pleased to see the SRC site’s turbidity return to normal after last month’s high result of 19 NTUs. The high turbidity at the Falls Park sampling site can also be attributed to the decaying organic materials and low water levels.

To resolve the issues at Falls Park and improve water quality before December’s sampling event, FoRR has communicated with the City of Greenville Parks and Recreation Department to ensure that leaves will not continue to be blown into the tributary as a means of disposal, especially during times with low water levels. The City of Greenville responded very positively to this request, and we are thankful for their partnership and commitment to resolving this issue as quickly as possible.

Special Note for Homeowners: If you have a stream on your property, please make sure you are disposing of your fallen leaves and yard debris properly by mulching, composting, or leaving them instead of blowing the leaf litter into the stream to avoid unwanted negative impacts to your stream’s water quality and habitat viability. Your river thanks you! November's results and the SC state standards are included for comparison below.


  • pH is a way of measuring the H+ ions in a water sample, or if the sample is acidic or basic. pH is influenced by the concentration of acids in rain, and the types of soils and bedrock present in the watershed. Ideally, rivers will have a neutral pH, or a value of 7.


  • The available dissolved oxygen (DO) in a water sample is important for fish health and life within a body of water. DO can increase in lower temperatures, turbulence in the water, photosynthesis in the stream, and diffusion from the atmosphere. DO can decrease in higher temperatures, in slow-moving and deep water, and in the presence of decaying organic matter.


  • E. coli Bacteria counts are found by incubating a water sample that was placed on a medium, then counting the number of coliform forming units. These values are higher in areas where animals are present so always remember to pick up after your pets and don't feed the geese in the park!


  • Turbidity, the cloudiness of water, is quantified with the unit of measurement “NTU,” which stands for “Nephelometric Turbidity Units”. Low NTU readings indicate clearer water and high readings indicate very turbid, or cloudy, water. NTU readings typically range from 1 to 4,000, with 1 being clear water and 4,000 having very little transparency and high turbidity (think of the cloudiness of milk).



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Find an SC Adopt-a-Stream event near you to become certified HERE!

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