Protecting Forests to Ensure Sustainable Drinking Water

Greenville Water and Naturaland Trust Partner to Protect Our Critical Natural Resources

Frank Holleman, President Naturaland Trust; Phillip Kilgore, Greenville Water Commission Chair; Mac Stone, Executive Director Naturaland Trust; and Jim Bannister, Greenville Water Commissioner.

Greenville Water donated $100,000 to Naturaland Trust to help protect the 238-acre Chapman Bridge Preserve. This partnership protects the iconic Oconee Bells, enhances access for recreation, and preserves the wildlife habitat and water quality of the area.

The 238-acre parcel is home to a stunning and healthy population of the Oconee Bell, as well as to mature hardwoods, a striking stream, and countless wildlife game trails that traverse the property. The Oconee Bell — a signature plant of the Blue Ridge Mountains – exists only in the Keowee and Jocassee watersheds, making it essential to protect these plants and their habitat.

“Greenville Water came through at a crucial moment to help us purchase and protect the Chapman Bridge Preserve near Lake Keowee. This property contains a gorgeous mature forest interlaced with mountain streams and seeps, which are home to the imperiled Oconee Bell,” said Mac Stone, Naturaland Trust executive director. “Now protected forever, the bells will flourish, the streams will continue to deliver clean water to Lake Keowee, and this forest will become an asset for the community for years to come.”

Supporting the conservation of the Chapman Bridge Preserve is critical in ensuring the delivery of high-quality water to Lake Keowee, one of Greenville’s three drinking water sources. This watershed comprises 184,000 acres, 809 miles of streams and three drinking water intakes, providing drinking water to more than 250,000 people.

“So much of conservation work is about building lasting and trusting relationships within the community. Our donation to Naturaland Trust endorses that trust and reflects Greenville Water’s interest in conserving and maintaining healthy forests as a catalyst for healthy drinking water,” said David Bereskin, Greenville Water chief executive officer. “Protecting the Chapman Bridge Preserve also supports our Lake Keowee Source Water Protection Team efforts to improve the water quality throughout the watersheds.”

Through the Greenville Water Cares volunteer program, team members have also volunteered their time to help Naturaland Trust clean up the Boones Creek Preserve, another property recently protected through Naturaland Trust. Volunteers helped clear downed trees and filled the bed of two trucks with trash and debris.

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Greenville Water provides service to more than 500,000 residents of the Upstate region of South Carolina. Recognizing that water service is critical to the health and well-being of its customers and for the growth and economic vitality of the community, Greenville Water ensures the reliable delivery of high-quality water through careful stewardship of its resources. Greenville Water is committed to providing exceptional service and utilizing safe and effective methods for providing water, while adhering to and surpassing health and safety standards. Governed by an elected Commission of Public Works, Greenville Water is the state’s largest water utility.