Kayakers, canoers, fish and mollusks can now navigate Congaree Creek with ease thanks to the combined efforts of Congaree Riverkeeper, American Rivers, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the City of Cayce, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
On May 21, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began removing a dam on Congaree Creek. Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler shared videos of the process on social media and community members reacted joyously: “May the waters run wild and free!” said one commenter, and “I see a paddle in our future…” said another, tagging a friend in the post.
By May 22, the creek was flowing freely.
“Congaree Creek is a beautiful blackwater creek that flows through the heart of Cayce, and includes a canoe trail that meanders through the Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve, just minutes from downtown Columbia. By removing this boating hazard and improving the health of the creek we hope more people will be able to explore and enjoy this hidden gem,” said Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler in an announcement from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Congaree Riverkeeper, partnering with American Rivers, first proposed the dam removal project to the state of South Carolina in 2017. Dams prevent migratory fish from traveling throughout their ecosystems and people from safely swimming, kayaking and canoeing throughout their public waterways. They also drive climate change; dams flood huge areas, and the microbes and algae that thrive in standing water produce greenhouse gases.
Feature image by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources