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Spartanburg Water Conservation Tips

Lake Blalock

About Lake Blalock
Lake Blalock Camera
Lake Blalock and Pacolet River Levels
Directions to Lake Blalock (Lake Blalock Park)
Rules and Boating Access Permits
Buffer Management Plan
Recreation
Lake Blalock Q & A

About Lake Blalock

About Lake BlalockIn 1976, 16 years after the construction of Lake Bowen, the Commissioners of Spartanburg Water authorized the creation of H. Taylor Blalock reservoir, now known as Lake Blalock. Between the years of 1970 and 1980, populations within Spartanburg County increased from approximately 173,000 to 201,000. To meet the steadily increasing demand of water usage and to ensure an even greater water supply for the future of Spartanburg County, Lake Blalock was constructed in 1983. Located within the Pacolet River Basin, Lake Blalock was formed by the waters of the Pacolet River and its tributaries.

Today, Lake Blalock encompasses 1,105 acres and contains approximately 45 miles of shoreline. Along with an increased water supply, Lake Blalock offers many recreational activities like boating and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy Lake Blalock Park, a recreational park provided by Spartanburg Water that offers picnic pavilions, a dock for fishing, one boat ramp, and the Lake Blalock Warden’s Office.

Much of the landscape within and around Lake Blalock is rural. Although growth around the lake is expected to be minimal over the next 25 years, lakefront property development is expected to significantly increase. To prepare for lakefront growth, Spartanburg Water has developed a Buffer Management Plan for Lake Blalock to provide bank stability, maintain wildlife habitat, and filter out runoff pollution. The Dwarf-flowered heartleaf (Hexastylis naniflora) is a federally endangered plant species that is found around Lake Blalock. Amazingly, the only place this species can be found is in parts of North and South Carolina.

Learn more about the Dwarf-flowered heartleaf

Lake Blalock Camera

Lake Blalock and North Pacolet River Levels

Lake levels and river flows are almost always in a constant state of fluctuation. Spartanburg Water regularly monitors the levels of Lake Blalock, along with the flow of the North Pacolet River, to better manage our water supply. As an informational source, customers and recreational users can now monitor these trends for Lake Blalock and the North Pacolet River at their convenience. For reservoir level and river flow history, select a location from the list below.

Lake Blalock Lake Level
North Pacolet River

Directions to Lake Blalock (Lake Blalock Park)

From Greenville
Go I-85 North (towards Charlotte). Take Exit 78 (Hwy 221). Turn left and go towards Chesnee. Go approximately 3.5 miles until you come to a red light at Fosters Grove Rd. (There will be a sign that says Lake Blalock Park; there is also a Debs Mini Mart). Turn left onto Fosters Grove Rd. Go approximately 1/10 mile and take the first road on the right (Sandy Ford Road). Go approximately 1.5 miles to Lake Blalock Park on the right.
MapQuest

From Charlotte
Go I-85 South (towards Greenville/Spartanburg). Take Exit 78 (Hwy 221). Turn right and go towards Chesnee. Go approximately 3.5 miles until you come to a red light at Fosters Grove Rd. (There will be a sign that says Lake Blalock Park; there is also a Debs Mini Mart). Turn left onto Fosters Grove Rd. Go approximately 1/10 mile and take the first road on the right (Sandy Ford Road). Go approximately 1.5 miles to Lake Blalock Park on the right.
MapQuest

Rules and Boating Access Permits

Recreational Rules and Regulations
Spartanburg Water has adopted specific rules and regulations that govern any recreational activities on Lake Blalock. These rules and regulations have been adopted to ensure that all users of Lake Blalock conduct their recreational activities in a safe and conscientious manner. Before participating in any recreational activities on Lake Blalock, please read through the South Carolina Recreational Rules and Regulations.

Boat Access Permitting
Spartanburg Water has established specific rules and regulations that govern the use of boats and acquisition of permits on Lake Blalock. These rules and regulations have been adopted to ensure that all users of Lake Blalock conduct their boating activities in a safe and conscientious manner. Before participating in any boating activities on Lake Blalock, please read through the Spartanburg Water Summary of Boat Policies and Permits.
Summary of Boat Policies and Permits

Buffer Management Plan

Buffer Management PlanLake Blalock provides an excellent source of high-quality drinking water for the people of the Spartanburg area. Protection of this resource is needed to ensure that current and future generations will continue to enjoy drinking water from the reservoir and also have excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation and education. Protection of the reservoir begins with the surrounding watershed and associated land use practices.

The Spartanburg Water Buffer Management plan provides guidance on many issues that will ensure protection of water quality within Lake Blalock. Several of purposes of the plan include, but are not limited to, protecting water quality, establishing clear guidelines for allowable activities within the buffer, protection of fish and wildlife habitat within the buffer, and protecting and maintaining Lake Blalock for future users.

Learn more about the Lake Blalock Buffer Management Plan

Recreation

Since its construction in 1983, Lake Blalock has been a significant recreational resource for the Spartanburg area. Lake Blalock offers many recreational activities like boating and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy "Lake Blalock Park," a recreational park provided by Spartanburg Water that offers pavilion rentals, 1 dock for fishing, 1 boat ramp, and the Lake Blalock Warden’s Office.

Along with general recreation, Spartanburg Water also sponsors a number of programs on Lake Blalock.

Pontoon ClassroomPontoon Classroom
Participants in this class receive a guided tour on a pontoon boat while learning about the history and use of Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock. The program focuses on water safety, water conservation, and watershed issues. Additionally, students learn how to take water samples and test for water quality.

• Day-long program suitable for late elementary through junior high students
• Topics available include:
   - Water Treatment Process, Distribution and Purification
   - Reclaimed Water Treatment Process, Collection and Recycling
• Contact the Lake Bowen Wardens Office at (864) 592-2240

Lake SweepLake Sweep is a program that Spartanburg Water is proud to offer every year. The program, a joint effort with Spartanburg Water and Spartanburg area citizen volunteers, involves removing trash and recyclables from around Lake Bowen, Lake Blalock, and surrounding water bodies. Lake Sweep has been so successful, that over 250 volunteers help to remove over 20,000 pounds of trash each year. That’s over 10 tons!
Learn more about Lake Sweep

New Recreational Opportunities Sought for Lake Blalock

In the late Spring of 2012, Spartanburg Water and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reached an agreement to develop an additional opportunity for public recreation at Lake Blalock. Under this agreement, DNR would lease from Spartanburg Water the rights to hunt and shoot waterfowl in certain remote areas of land around Lake Blalock, and Spartanburg Water would permit the Department to establish these areas as a public waterfowl management area. Under the agreement, these areas would be open to the public for hunting waterfowl on Wednesday mornings beginning at 5:00 AM and ending at 12 Noon during the Federal Waterfowl Hunting Season. Different species of waterfowl come into season between early September and January.

In order for this agreement to be fully implemented, the state law that governs the hours of public access to Lake Blalock needs a minor change. Current law allows public access to Lake Blalock beginning one hour before sunrise every day. The change would allow access earlier (at 5:00 AM) only on Wednesdays and only during the Federal Waterfowl Hunting Season from September to January. An amendment to make this change was introduced into the SC Senate earlier this year by Senator Glenn Reese, and designated as Senate Bill 558. The bill was approved by the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee. It must be approved by the full Senate and by the House of Representatives before it can become law.

The 2009 study, "Underappreciated Assets: The Economic Impact of South Carolina's Natural Resources" by the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business, found that well-managed natural resources are essential for economic development. They contribute to the high quality of life that attracts people, business and industry from other areas. South Carolina's incredible wealth of natural resources contributes nearly $30 billion and 230,000 jobs to the state's economy. Among the many opportunities afforded by our state’s bounty and natural beauty, a major part of outdoor recreation centers on fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing. DNR estimates that these activities add more than $2.1 billion in value to South Carolina’s overall economy.

Addition of recreational opportunities in Spartanburg County makes our area more attractive to others, aiding our efforts to enhance economic development, the prosperity of our people, and our community’s quality of life.

If you have any questions regarding this change in legislation, please contact John Westcott at 580-5685

Click here to view the Waterfowl Management Area Map.

Lake Blalock Q & A

Q. Where does the water in Lake Blalock come from?
A.
Lake Blalock is formed by the North and South Pacolet River System (the Pacolet River). The North Pacolet River originates in SE Henderson County, NC near Saluda, NC. After flowing east into Polk County, NC, the North Pacolet flows into northern Spartanburg County. The South Pacolet river originates in Greenville County near Lake Lanier and flows east into northern Spartanburg County to form Lake Bowen. The flow from Lake Bowen then combines with the flow from the North Pacolet River to form Lake Blalock.

Q. Are you lowering either lake so that homeowners can do winter maintenance on their docks?
A.
Spartanburg Water has not lowered, nor plans to lower, either lake levels to allow homeowners to do winter maintenance on their docks. Due to the persistent drought that we are experiencing and very low stream flows that feed Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock, Spartanburg Water plans to store as much water as possible in the reservoirs throughout the winter months in anticipation of lower than normal rainfall predications for the spring and summer of 2009.

Q. There is vegetation growing in the area where there has been water. Can I cut this vegetation?
A.
This vegetation may be removed. You must first contact the Lake Blalock Wardens’ Office and apply for a Vegetation Permit before you begin removing or cutting the growth. The Lake Blalock Wardens’ Office is located on 1925 Sandy Ford Road, Chesnee, SC, 29323. The phone number is (864) 578-5442.

Q. Did Spartanburg Water lower Lake Blalock this summer so that they could remove the trees from around the lake?
A.
No, the lower lake level was the result of extreme drought conditions and this, in most cases, made it more difficult for the tree removal crews to do their work.

Q. What is Spartanburg Water doing to deal with the drought?
A.
Spartanburg Water monitors the streams that feed Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock on a daily basis to track how much water our reservoirs are storing for future water needs for our customers. It is very important that this is done, especially during drought conditions, so that Spartanburg Water can continue to encourage our customers to conserve water for our future needs. During the drought this year, Spartanburg Water made a large investment in educating the public and our customers as to the value and importance of water conservation. We have also invested in new technology that allows us to determine where leaks occur from the pipes that carry water to our customers so to conserve as much water as possible.

Q. I hear that Spartanburg Water has a new dock extension policy so that I can still launch my boat from my dock. How does the new dock extension policy work?
A.
Spartanburg Water does have a new dock extension policy, developed to deal with fluctuating water levels, thus maximizing recreational benefit for the surrounding property owners. Lake Blalock property owners interested in a possible dock extension may contact the Lake Blalock Wardens’ Office. Spartanburg Water Lake Wardens will work with individual property owners to try and accommodate their specific dock needs. The Lake Blalock Wardens’ Office is located on 1925 Sandy Ford Road, Chesnee, SC, 29323. The phone number is (864) 578-5442.

Q. Does Spartanburg Water consider recreation when they withdraw water from the lakes?
A.
All three reservoirs owned by Spartanburg Water were constructed to supply over 180,000 persons in the Spartanburg community with an adequate and safe supply of water. The lakes are actively managed to ensure that an adequate water supply is available to sustain water needs, even during times of drought. While Spartanburg Water is happy that recreational opportunities are available for Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock, the primary focus and purpose of the capital investments we have made over the years in creating and maintaining these reservoirs is for water production.

Q. Are the dramatic lake fluctuations to be expected every year? If the lake is going to fluctuate every year, will Spartanburg Water change their dock specifications so that docks may be useable year round?
A.
Significant lake level fluctuations should only occur during extended drought conditions. Spartanburg Water has developed specific criteria where certain docks may be allowed a dock extension to accommodate these fluctuating water levels. Spartanburg Water officials have surveyed areas around Lake Blalock to identify adjacent parcels that qualify for long-term dock extensions. A map of the areas that pre-qualify for dock extensions is available for viewing at the Lake Blalock Warden’s Office. Even if an adjacent property does not qualify for one of these more permanent type dock extensions, Spartanburg Water Lake Wardens will work with individual property owners to try and accommodate their specific dock needs, including issuing permits for flexible dock extensions that allow access to recreation when the lake levels are down. The Lake Blalock Wardens’ Office is located on 1925 Sandy Ford Road, Chesnee, SC, 29323. The phone number is (864) 578-5442.

Q. It seems as if we’ve had some rain in the last couple of weeks, so why is Spartanburg Water still releasing water downstream to the Pacolet River? Shouldn’t all of this water from the rain be saved?
A.
Spartanburg Water is required to continuously release a minimum amount of water downstream from the Lake Blalock Dam based on a permitted release regime to support aquatic life and other downstream communities. When streams that feed Lake Blalock are flowing below historical averages (such as experienced during the Drought of 2007 & 2008) then lake levels may begin to drop. The beneficial rainfall over the past few weeks has helped but we continue to monitor the incoming streams that feed Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock to understand the effects that rainfall has had on the streams and whether or not the streams will maintain increased flows following the rains.


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