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Center for Watershed Excellence

Community Science

Community science will change the way we acknowledge and manage our shared natural resources forever. With generations now being raised on “smart” devices using powerful search engines, people can access and sift through information at their fingertips in seconds. So, why not water quality data, for example? Environmental data is often locked up in complex databases.

Teaching residents about collecting environmental data gives them a new language to better understand and advocate for what they value. Having a volunteer workforce reporting observations and collecting data can be a significant resource to researchers, natural resource managers, and policy makers. Community science gets people out in nature, which has proven to benefit physical and mental health. Finally, citizen science democratizes natural resource data, creating a resource that is typically more user-friendly to answer simple questions about the health of our environment.

Below are some emerging community science projects and resources ready for use in South Carolina and the Southeast.

Community Science Projects Resource Information
SC Adopt-a-Stream

From the mountains to the coast of South Carolina, certified volunteers of all ages are collecting non-regulatory, baseline data on the health of our rivers and ecosystems. SC AAS began in SC in 2017 and alongside partners and volunteers, implements three monitoring protocols: freshwater, macroinvertebrate, and tidal saltwater. Volunteers must maintain certification to enter data.


CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow). CoCoRaHS data is highly encouraged for local rain accumulation monitoring as part of the SC Adopt-a-Stream data collection.

Friends of the Reedy River Streambank Failure Reporting Tool

The Reedy River watershed stretches from Travelers Rest, SC to Lake Greenwood, within the Saluda River basin. Friends of the Reedy River, a non-profit dedicated to impoved management and protection of the Reedy are calling on residents, students, utility and other staff, and anyone interested to help document where streambank failure may be leading to tree loss, bank loss, and risks to infrastructure. This information can lead to a more strategic initiative to prioritize streambank restoration, ecological restoration, land preservation, and improved management of the overall hydrology of the watershed.


This crowdsourcing tool is working across the US to document potential cyanobacteria blooms, which can produce toxins that are harmful to wildlife, pets, and humans. Bloomwatch is the simplest of the three monitoring protocols at work by the project team, which asks volunteers to download the app and upload pictures when they observe a potential cyanobacteria bloom.

The Center for Watershed Excellence
The Center for Watershed Excellence | 509 Westinghouse Rd, Pendleton, SC 29670