Welcome Eco-Interviews listeners! I’m your host Fiona Martin, and this is the podcast where we amplify the voices of those defending Mother Earth and tackling the climate crisis.
In this episode, I’m chatting with Melanie Ruhlman, president of Save Our Saluda, a nonprofit watershed organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Upper Saluda Watershed in Upstate, South Carolina. Melanie earned her Bachelor of Science in Forestry from North Carolina State University in 1990 and her Masters of Science in Forest Hydrology from the University of Georgia in 1996. Her areas of expertise include watershed assessment and planning, hydrology, water quality, erosion and sediment control, stormwater management, stream assessment, soils, wetlands, and public outreach and education. She lives on the North Saluda River in Marietta, South Carolina with her husband and two children and enjoys paddling, biking, hiking, and gardening.
Our rivers provide us with drinking water, irrigation, biodiversity, recreation, relaxation, and unfortunately waste disposal. While our ancestors and previous generations may have disrespectfully interacted with our rivers, organizations like Save Our Saluda are working to correct the damages done and prevent further harm. While it’s easy to point the finger at big polluters like wastewater plants and other industrial uses, agriculture is a big culprit of river pollution. Conventional farming practices like tilling leave the soil exposed, and rain creates water runoff full of precious topsoil, heavy metals, and chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer.
One initiative directed by Save Our Saluda is to provide funds to farmers for regenerative agricultural practices like cover cropping, no till, and riparian buffers. Not only does this help our rivers, it helps the farmer’s bottom line with improved biodiversity and better crop yields with fewer inputs. A win-win-win, right?
Find the video and transcript of this interview at https://eco-interviews.com.