Sand River restoration master plan in development

By Sonya R. Albury-Crandall

sand river; Photo by Peter KentOver centuries, sporadic stormwater flows have created a sandy streambed called Sand River that meanders through the 2,000-acre Hitchcock Woods forest in Aiken.

As more development has occurred, paving over open lands, stormwater volume and velocity have increased. This has caused severe erosion, carving a deep canyon in the headwaters and carrying sediment into forested wetlands.

The City of Aiken awarded a grant to Clemson’s Center for Watershed Excellence to develop a restoration plan for the river. A team of engineers, ecologists and landscape architects is helping community members build consensus on cost effective, ecologically sensitive solutions.

The community’s goal is to address the stormwater impacts; restore the ecological functions of the Sand River; preserve historical and cultural sites, nature trails and flora; and maintain natural ridges and diverse wildlife habitats.

For more information: Gene Eidson, 864-656-2618, or www.clemson.edu/restoration/ecology/.