Section 319(h) Grant Activities

Implementation of Revised Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Educational Programs for Rocky and Butler Creeks in conjunction with the Savannah-Upper Ogeechee Water Planning Council

The objectives of this grant were to identify problematic areas of fecal coliform/E. coli concentrations in Butler and Rocky creeks, and to educate the public about protecting surface water quality. Project goals were addressed by expanding existing water quality monitoring to collect additional fecal coliform/E. coli data, as well as developing and implementing education and public outreach strategies at the local level, which will be made available for use by other communities. Public outreach activities performed include development of educational media and materials (flyers, posters, social media and news articles, and a YouTube video), organizing and participating in live events (educational booths at park and public events, speaking engagements), and implementation of specific activities, including a “Creekwalk Community Education Program,” an educational field trip, and a “Water Fun Block Party.” An effort was made to target education at specific audiences located in the geographic areas contributing the greatest bacteria loads about best management practices most likely to reduce those loads. However, source identification has been inconclusive, so we have taken a more opportunistic approach to selecting target audiences. To measure success or efficacy of public education, we estimated attendance at live events, conducted pre- and post-education surveys, and tracked the volume of septic sludge delivered to Augusta, Georgia POTW (waste water treatment plant) to monitor trends in pumping frequency. We have used our experience with this project to produce two documents to provide guidance to other communities for designing an educational process and developing sampling and monitoring procedures.

Follow the link below to learn more about this project:
Section 319(h) FY11 Final Report

Biota Improvement in an Urban Stream through Aquatic Habitat Restoration

This project will implement a 2017 Nine-Element Watershed Management Plan for the Augusta Canal (HUC-12 #030601060601) / Butler Creek (HUC-12 #030601060602) / Beaverdam Ditch (HUC-12 #030601060607) Watersheds in Savannah River Basin.  Project activities will address water quality impairments associated with fecal coliform, Bio F and Bio M throughout an 8-mile portion of Rocky Creek in the HUC-12 (030601060607) watershed of Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia.  

Intended project results are to achieve improvements in the biotic impairments by increasing a fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) to more than 16 (Very Poor) and a macroinvertebrate Multi-Metric Index (MMI) in a 100-point scale to greater than 5 (Very Poor).  The range of fish IBI scores and corresponding integrity classes are: 60-52=Excellent; 50-44=Good; 42-34=Fair; 32-26=Poor; and 24-8=Very Poor (Part I: Standard Operating Procedures for Conducting Biomonitoring on Fish Communities in Wadeable Streams in Georgia, Table 2.) (DNR/WRD, 2005). The percentile, MMI ranking, and corresponding classifications for macroinvertebrates are: Above 95%=1=Very Good; 95% to 75%=2=Good; 75% to 25%=3=Fair; 25% to 5%=4=Poor; and Below 5%=5=Very Poor (Macroinvertebrate Biological Assessment of Wadeable Streams in Georgia - STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES, Table 5-3.) (DNR/EPD, Watershed Protection Branch, 2007, Version 1.0).

The restoration of a healthy biological community may also help to decrease fecal coliform concentrations based on a well-supported scientific food web theory. These improvements will be documented through pre- and post-monitoring efforts using GAEPD/GADNR standard protocols for sampling fish and macroinvertebrates in streams. 

Habitat will be restored by directly adding Best Management Practices (BMPs) to the stream that will encourage a more natural riffle-pool geomorphology over time and support habitat diversity. The BMP installation will target a minimum of 0.25 stream miles (1320 linear feet) along the 6-mile “Headwaters to SR56” reach with a spacing of approximately one feature every 50-200 ft. and will result in a minimum of 12 features depending on the total stream miles restored. A library of choices for features is outlined below, but final selection will be based on a walking assessment of what is currently most functional and successful for habitat in the stream.   

The following potential BMP options are taken from the GAEPD Streambank and Shoreline Stabilization Guide, NC State Extension Guide to In-Stream Structures, and NC State Stream Restoration Handbook.  In addition, other options or option components that are currently known to enhance habitat may also be included such as overhanging woody vegetation, erratic rocks, boulder clusters, large woody debris, and woody or rocky channel constriction structures.

FY16-Aquatic Habitat Grant_Final_unsigned_061918