Matthews Creek is famously known for the 400-foot raging cascade that tumbles through Caesars Head State Park, called Raven Cliff Falls in Upstate South Carolina. Above this massive waterfall, biologists with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have worked for decades to bring back the native eastern brook trout. Matthews Creek’s headwaters, however, have been dammed creating a pond stocked with non-native fish that negatively affects water quality, habitat, and temperature for the breeding trout below.
With the help of Upstate Forever, a private donation, and the SC Conservation Bank, Naturaland Trust purchased the 61 acres containing the headwaters, which is adjacent to the Watson Cooper Heritage Trust Preserve and straddles the continental divide on the North and South Carolina border. The project is now focused on removing the dam to free the headwaters and restore the natural mountain bog at the site. Once the dam removal and restoration work are complete, the property will be donated to DNR for inclusion in the Heritage Trust Preserve.
To complete this work, Naturaland Trust is partnering with Trout Unlimited, US Fish and Wildlife, SCDNR and American Rivers to drain the pond and safely remove the dam.
* Project removes artificial barriers that restrict passage and/or natural flow of water for some period of the year