News From The River

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

FoRR took to the river this week to monitor three of our five sites along the Reedy River. Our sites include the following:


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

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

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

Site #4: Reedy River on Greenville Tech's Brashier campus in Simpsonville

Site #5: Reedy River in Cedar Falls Park in Simpsonville

Sites 1 through 3 in the Greenville area were monitored on Tuesday, May 23. Sites 4 and 5 in the Simpsonville area were monitored on Wednesday, May 24.

Interested in learning how to sample for macroinvertebrate populations through the SC Adopt-a-Stream program? Find more information and register now for our Macroinvertebrate Monitoring Training next month! We now have a macroinvertebrate monitoring kit available for SC Adopt-a-Stream certified macro volunteers.


The pH results for May were consistent with our findings in April, with sites showing only small changes from last month’s results, if any. 

The air and water temperatures for the Greenville sites in May increased once again, with the air temperature average increasing by 3.3 degrees from April’s average of only 16C to 19.3C this month. The air temperatures ranged from 17C at Falls Park to 21.5 at Cedar Falls Park. The water temperatures also increased significantly, with the average water temperature increasing by 2.9C. The range of water temperatures this month were between 18C at both Swamp Rabbit Café and Falls Park and 20C at Greenville Tech Brashier. 

May’s dissolved oxygen (DO) results ranged from 7.2 mg/L to 7.9 mg/L. Overall, the average DO levels only dropped 0.6 mg/L, but this came as a large decrease at some sites like Mauldin Road and Swamp Rabbit Café, which dropped 0.9 and 0.8 mg/L from April’s results, respectively. The consistent decrease in DO levels is once again expected due to the inverse correlation between water temperature and DO. Warmer water has less capacity for dissolved oxygen. We expect the DO levels to continue to decrease with an eventual plateau as temperatures increase throughout the spring and summer.

The E. coli bacteria results were higher this month than they were in April, but were still below the state-defined “high threshold” of 349 cfu/100mL with the exception of Cedar Falls Park, which only slightly surpassed the threshold at 400 cfu/100mL. This increase in E. coli colony forming units can likely be attributed to the noted presence of woody and plastic debris along the trail and, even more importantly, new evidence of stream bank erosion that occurred after the last major storm event on April 28, 2023 where the river was 6 feet above normal stream height as measured at the nearby USGS stream gauge. We will monitor this site’s E. coli and turbidity readings closely in the coming months. All other sites’ E. coli levels ranged from 66 to 266.67 cfu/100mL.

FORR has begun sampling water transparency by using a transparency tube, which quantifies the clearness (or clarity) of water. Color, algae, and suspended sediments can alter this result. In the Reedy, transparency is most likely to be impacted by sediments in the water column due to high runoff rates and failing streambanks due to the urban nature of our watershed. This measure of transparency can be converted and utilized to approximate water turbidity, which is a measure of the cloudiness of water. Turbidity can impact photosynthesis and water temperature and can be indicative of too much unmanaged stormwater runoff in the watershed. This month’s turbidity results ranged from 5 NTU at Falls Park and Greenville Tech Brashier and 27 NTU at Cedar Falls Park. The high turbidity at Cedar Falls Park can be attributed to the previously mentioned erosion issues due to recent rains. This higher result brings our average turbidity result across all sites to 10.8, which we hope to see decrease during our next sampling event.  

May’s results and the SC state standards are included for comparison below. All results were within SC state standards. 


  • 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

Sign up to join the FoRR monitoring team HERE!

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

The FoRR Monitoring Team uses SC Adopt-a-Stream techniques and has its own monitoring kits, thanks to Ivy Salon and The Greenville Zoo Conservation Fund.

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