June 19, 2006
Partners for Trout recently completed a half-mile of
stream restoration on Little Eastatoee Creek in the Jocassee Gorges
region of northern Pickens County.
“The floodplain was reconstructed using a technique never before
used in South Carolina,” said Ross Stewart, Natural Resources
Conservation Service soil conservationist. The downstream side of
the newly constructed floodplain was planted in hardwood tree
seedlings, which are protected by plastic tubes that act like a
The restored section of Little Eastatoee Creek was entrenched (the
channel was degraded), meaning there was no out-of-bank flow. “When
a creek is allowed to spill over its bank and out into the
floodplain,” Stewart said, “the velocity of the water is slowed
which amounts to a decrease in stream bank erosion.”
During the planning stages of this project, proposed floodplains
were staked out at strategic locations. Then, during the
construction phase, they were hollowed out to become functioning
floodplains. The elevation of the new floodplains (also referred to
as benches) was constructed such that during a one-and-a-half-year
storm, the creek will be able to flow out onto the floodplains.
Hardwood tree seedlings will also be planted along both sides of the
creek to establish a riparian area. The riparian area will slow down
the water during storm events, and shade the water, thereby reducing
thermal pollution (one of the biggest pollutants in South Carolina
Additional stream restoration practices that were used for this
project included whole-tree revetments (a brush or tree facing used
to support an embankment), root wads (the trunk of a tree with the
roots attached and the soil or dirt removed so that the roots are
exposed), rock J-hooks (rock structures used to deflect flows off of
eroding banks), rock cross vanes (rocks placed across the channel to
provide grade control and to narrow the normal stream channel) and
in-stream boulders, according to Stewart. The project involved five
landowners and cost $139,000.
Partners for Trout is a coalition comprised of the Pickens,
Greenville and Oconee Soil and Water Conservation Districts, U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, S.C. Department of Natural Resources,
Trout Unlimited, private landowners and the Foothills Resource
Conservation & Development Council. The group is committed to
restoring and enhancing trout streams in South Carolina.
Trout streams appear in only a small portion of three counties in
South Carolina: Oconee, Pickens and Greenville, according to Dan
Rankin, Upstate regional fisheries biologist with the S.C.
Department of Natural Resources in Clemson.
South Carolina’s trout fishery generates more than $9 million
annually for the state’s economy in direct retail sales, with a
total economic output of more than $18 million, according to a study
on the economic benefits of freshwater fishing in South Carolina.
The effects of trout fishing can be felt in many segments of Upstate
and Midlands communities, from motels and restaurants to gas
stations, local bait and tackle shops and sporting goods stores.
According to Rankin, fingerling trout are stocked in the headwater
reaches of Little Eastatoee Creek each year to enhance the stream’s
trout population. About 10,000 catchable-size trout (9-12 inches)
are also annually stocked at publicly accessible sites in the lower
reaches of the stream.
The South Carolina DNR stocks more than 400,000 trout into public
waters in the state’s upcountry each year. The trout are stocked in
more than 50 cold-water rivers and streams in Greenville, Pickens
and Oconee counties, in Lake Jocassee, and in the cool tailwaters
below the Lake Hartwell and Lake Murray dams.