South Chickamauga Creek Volunteer Cleanup on Tuesday, October 11, 2016.

Limestone Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, the Catoosa County 4H Club and Georgia Rivers Alive are putting on a volunteer stream cleanup event as part of an effort to improve the South Chickamauga Creek Watershed.  The event will start at 10:00 am and last until around 12:00 pm on Tuesday, October 11th.  The Ringgold City Park which is located along South Chickamauga Creek will serve as the central location for the event.  Rivers Alive T-shirts will be available for at least the first 40 volunteers who sign in.  Volunteers will be asked to clean up along the creek on foot.  Staff from Limestone Valley will be on hand to talk about South Chickamauga Creek and the fishes and bugs that inhabit it, as well as the importance of good water quality.  In addition, Limestone Valley will be sampling fishes and bugs to show a bunch of critters from South Chickamauga Creek to volunteers.  The cleanup should be a fun way to assist in helping improve on one of the most cherished places in Ringgold to visit South Chickamauga Creek.    

 

Student volunteers from the Catoosa County 4H Club will be instrumental in making the event a success.  Limestone Valley RC&D Council, a nonprofit group dedicated to natural resource conservation and economic development in rural Northwest Georgia, is also especially relevant as they are working on a grant to improve water quality in the South Chickamauga Creek Watershed.  Rivers Alive, another partner sponsoring the event, is a statewide outreach program geared toward cleaning up Georgia’s waterways and will be donating the T-shirts.  The event along South Chickamauga Creek is one of more than 200 cleanups along streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and oceans that Rivers Alive sponsors each year throughout Georgia.  Last year, approximately 28,000 volunteers contributed to these cleanups in and along over 2,000 miles of waterways.  It is the hope of both groups that volunteers not only help clean garbage and debris within and along these water bodies, but also get out and appreciate them for their beauty and biodiversity, as well as the recreation opportunities that they offer.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the stream cleanup event or have a group planning on attending the cleanup, please RSVP the event coordinator Amos Tuck at (770) 316-4115 or amostuck8@gmail.com.  Volunteers are advised to wear pants so they can walk through the woods and warm clothes that they can get wet if possible.  Gloves and trash bags will be provided, although bringing your own gloves will help the groups accommodate more volunteers.  When possible, volunteers are encouraged to bring waders to the event.  If you have suggestions of additional sites along local creeks in need of a cleanup as part of the event or have questions about the event, contact Amos Tuck, who is working on the South Chickamauga Creek grant with Limestone Valley. 

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Join us at the 21st Annual Conasauga River Watershed Clean-up!

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Join us at the Tennessee River Rescue, Saturday, October 3rd…

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Limestone Valley Update for August of 2015…

Greetings Council Members and Partners:

 

We thought we would take the time to update you all on what has been happening since our last meeting.  We have had a busy summer, and wanted to get you up to date before our annual Christmas lunch meeting at the Gordon County Agricultural Center on Thursday December 3rd, at 11 am…

 

319 Grants Update

 

For the South Chickamauga Headwaters (Catoosa Co.) Project: 

  • Financial assistance has so far been provided for a total of 49 repairs with the current grant, and at this point the funds are limited. We’ll try to assist with approximately 20 more repairs.
  • Site visits have recently been conducted with NRCS on 12 farms to discuss BMP projects to improve water quality and on-farm operations. Planning efforts continue.
  • Another successful H20 Camp was completed in early summer with Catoosa County 4H Club. The two day camp included both a canoe cleanup float trip down South Chick Creek and an Adopt-A-Stream macroinvertebrate monitoring workshop.
  • Targeted water quality monitoring efforts were completed in June.
  • Potential sites along creeks to plant bare root seedlings this winter are currently being investigated in the watershed.
  • A proposal will be submitted in October 2015 seeking to again fund this project.

 

For the Coahulla Creek Watershed (Whitfield Co.) Project:

  • The 319 grant to implement the Coahulla Creek Watershed Management Plan began in May.
  • This grant will fund septic system repair cost-shares, agricultural BMPs, streambank stabilization efforts, and fish and water quality monitoring.
  • Fish were sampled in late July in Haig Mill Creek and Mill Creek to determine whether biotic assemblages and habitats have improved since the creeks were listed as impaired in 2001.
  • Financial assistance is already planned to assist six local families with repairs on their failing septic systems. More repairs will follow.
  • Potential sites for streambank stabilization are being investigated.

 

For the Lookout Creek Watershed (Dade Co.) and Upper Oostanaula Watershed (Gordon Co.) Projects:

  • These grants will likely begin in late 2015 or early 2016 and fund septic repair cost-shares, agricultural BMPs, and practices including streambank stabilization, stormwater practices, and nutrient management.

 

For the Holly Creek Watershed (Murray Co.) Project:

  • A proposal will be submitted in October 2015 seeking to fund the first on-the-ground 319 implementation grant for this project.

 

Other Projects

 

Proposed NRCS Conservation Innovation Project (Northwest GA): 

  • This proposed project seeks to provide cost-share assistance for rainwater collection and conventional water storage to supplement cool cell systems in poultry houses.
  • News about whether this project will be funded this year is due at the beginning of September.

 

Proposed NRCS Outreach Grant (Northwest GA): 

  • This proposed project seeks to increase awareness of NRCS’s conservation programs and enhance program delivery by highlighting successful conservation projects and developing new outreach tools.
  • This process appears to be in the process of being funded as proposed. The project will likely begin in October.

 

Proposed RCCP Initiative (Northwest GA): 

  • This proposed project seeks to increase funding for energy efficiency audits and energy efficiency improvements on poultry farms.
  • News about whether the pre-proposal ranks high enough to merit a full proposal will be available soon.

 

No-Till Update for Catoosa County

 

Fiscal Year 2015 is near the end for the No-Till Rental Program and marks the best year overall to date.  Coming after a year with over 3,500 acres planted in our operating area, this marks the 2nd great year in a row for the program.  As always, thanks is in order to David Matteson for his help with repairing and servicing the drills.  Below you will find a summary of the acres planted so far.

 

Catoosa County Soil and Water – FY2015 Summary Acres
Catoosa County Benton Coal and Supply 252
Coosa River Soil and Water – FY2015 Summary
Chattooga County D&E Hardware 854.4
Gordon County Mike Rice 970.4
Walker County Young Farmers 930
Subtotal 2,754.8
Limestone Valley Soil and Water – FY2015 Summary
Whitfield County Dycus 1709.6
Murray County Brad Ridley 255
Subtotal 1,334.6
Total Acres FY 2015 4,341.4

 

Limestone Valley Update from April of 2015…

Greetings Council Members and Partners:

 

We thought we would take the time to update you all on what has been happening since our last meeting.  We have had a busy winter and spring, and wanted to get you up to date before our upcoming meeting at Prater’s Mill on May 14th at 11 am…

 

319 Grants Update

 

For the South Chickamauga Headwaters (Catoosa Co.) Project: 

  • We worked to provide financial assistance to approx. ten more local residents for repairs on failing septic systems.
  • Marketing efforts have led to meetings with several farmers to discuss BMP projects to improve water quality.
  • Water quality monitoring efforts continued.

 

For the Holly Creek Watershed (Murray Co.) Project:

  • The grant to develop a watershed management plan for the Holly Creek Watershed ended on March 31st.
  • The final draft of the plan will soon be completed.
  • The close-out report will be submitted by the end of May.

 

For the Coahulla Creek Watershed (Whitfield Co.) Project:

  • The 319 grant to implement the Coahulla Creek Watershed Management Plan is slated to begin at any time.
  • This grant will fund septic system repair cost-shares, agricultural BMPs, and streambank stabilization efforts.

 

For the Lookout Creek Watershed (Dade Co.) and Upper Oostanaula Watershed (Gordon Co.) Projects:

  • These grants were completed on October 31st, 2014.
  • We submitted proposals to implement the plans.
  • We recently got word that both proposals will be awarded and begin in late 2015 or early 2016.
  • These grants will fund septic repair cost-shares, agricultural BMPs, and practices including streambank stabilization, stormwater practices, and nutrient management.

 

No-Till Update

 

After a year with over 3,500 acres planted in our operating area, Fiscal Year 2015 is in full swing for the No-Till Rental Program.  As always, thanks is in order to David Matteson for his help with repairing and servicing the drills.  According to David, a great start to FY 2015 is underway with our custodians reporting a busy season.  Below you will find a summary of the acres planted so far.

 

 

Catoosa County Soil and Water – FY2015 Summary Acres
Catoosa County Benton Coal and Supply 245
Coosa River Soil and Water – FY2015 Summary
Chattooga County D&E Hardware 854.4
Gordon County Mike Rice 906
Walker County Young Farmers 930
Subtotal 2,690.4
Limestone Valley Soil and Water – FY2015 Summary
Whitfield County Dycus 1709.6
Murray County Brad Ridley 248
Subtotal 1,327.6
Total Acres FY 2015 4,263.0

 

Other News

 

NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant: 

  • We recently submitted a pre-proposal requesting funding for cost-shares on rainwater collection and storage systems to supplement cool cell systems in poultry houses in our 11 county area.
  • Having made the first cut, a full proposal has now been requested.
  • The proposal is due at the end of April. If awarded, the project would begin in late 2015.

 

Personnel Changes:

  • Long-time Watershed Program Manager Josh Smith has recently announced that he will be moving on from Limestone Valley. His last day is April 17th.  Josh has been with us a long time through a lot of changes, and has helped us continue to not only be relevant, but also prove we can succeed without direct Federal funding allocations.  While Josh will be difficult if not impossible to replace, we plan to bring on someone new in the near future to serve as a Watershed Project Assistant and assist us in our endeavors.

December 2014 Quarterly Newsletter…

Limestone Valley had a very busy fall.  We have done our best to describe the work that we have put in on several of our Clean Water Act Section 319 projects below:

 

For the South Chickamauga Headwaters Project: 

  • We worked to provide financial assistance to approximately ten more local residents for repairs on their failing septic systems.
  • In addition, we continued water quality sampling once a month at various sites within the watershed. This effort is to last one year.
  • Letters will soon go out to farmers advertizing potential cost-shares on agricultural projects that aim to improve water quality.

 

For the Coahulla Creek Watershed Project: 

  • We received official word that we will be awarded a grant to implement the Coahulla Creek Watershed Management Plan some time ago, and the grant will likely start at some point in early 2015.
  • We also assisted in leading the 20th annual Rivers Alive Conasauga Watershed Cleanup.

 

For the Lookout Creek Watershed Project:

  • We conducted a multi-day Adopt-A-Stream workshop with Dade County 4-H Club as well as a Rivers Alive Stream Cleanup focused on Lookout Creek.
  • We closed out the grant to develop a Watershed Management Plan (WMP) and submitted a proposal aimed at getting implementation of the recently approved WMP funded.

 

For the Upper Oostanaula Watershed Project:

  • We conducted a Rivers Alive Stream Cleanup in the watershed.
  • We closed out the grant to develop a Watershed Management Plan (WMP) and submitted a proposal aimed at getting implementation of the recently approved WMP funded.

 

For the Holly Creek Watershed Project:

  • Work continued on the Holly Creek Watershed Management Plan draft.
  • We assisted in leading the 20th Annual Conasauga Rivers Alive Cleanup.
  • The first of three stakeholder meetings in the watershed was held in Chatsworth.

September 2014 Quarterly Newsletter…

Limestone Valley had a very busy summer.  We have done our best to describe the work that we have put in on several of our Clean Water Act Projects below:

For the South Chickamauga Headwaters Project: 

  • We worked to provide financial assistance to approximately ten more local residents for repairs on their failing septic systems.
  • Soon, letters will go out to farmers advertizing potential cost-shares on agricultural projects that aim to improve water quality.
  • In addition, we have started water quality sampling once a month at various sites within the watershed.  This effort is to last one year.

For the Coahulla Creek Watershed Project: 

  • We have now received official word that we will be awarded a grant to implement the Coahulla Creek Watershed Management Plan, which would likely start at some point in early 2015.
  • We are already meeting with the City of Dalton regarding a potential bank stabilization project along Mill Creek.
  • We also recently represented our efforts in the larger Conasauga River Watershed at a recent Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation meeting for Conasauga River Watershed stakeholders.

For the Lookout Creek Watershed Project:

  • The last of watershed stakeholder meetings was held.
  • The Watershed Management Plan draft was approved by the stakeholders.
  • We are currently planning an Adopt-A-Stream workshop with Dade County 4-H Club and a Rivers Alive Stream Cleanup focused on Lookout Creek at Sells Lane and Town Creek within Jenkins Park.
  • We have also begun work on a grant proposal aimed at getting implementation of the recently approved Watershed Management Plan funded.

 For the Upper Oostanaula Watershed Project:

  • We again sampled fecal coliform bacteria, turbidity, and several other water quality parameters at several sites within the watershed.
  • The Upper Oostanaula Watershed Management Plan draft was completed and will soon be sent out to stakeholders for approval.
  • The last of three watershed stakeholder meetings will soon be held to go over the plan and seek comments and approval.

For the Holly Creek Watershed Project:

  • We completed a year of sampling for fecal coliform bacteria and total suspended at various sites within the watershed.
  • Work continued on the Holly Creek Watershed Management Plan draft.
  • We also completed a Canoe Cleanup Float down the Conasauga River in late August.
  • We are currently planning the 20th Annual Conasauga Rivers Alive Cleanup.
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Upcoming Event for the Conasauga River and Ocoee River Watersheds…

June 2014 Quarterly Newsletter…

Limestone Valley had a very busy late spring and summer.  We have done our best to describe the work that we have put in on several of our Clean Water Act Projects below:

 

For the South Chickamauga Headwaters Project: 

  • The grant contract was signed and we began work on the project.
  • We have already worked to provide financial assistance to over ten local residents for repairs on their failing septic systems.
  • We also assisted with the planning and implementation of Catoosa 4-H H2O Camp, which included an Adopt-A-Stream Workshop and a Canoe Cleanup Float down South Chickamauga Creek.

 

For the Coahulla Creek Watershed Project: 

  • In October, we applied for an additional grant to implement the watershed management plan and fund water quality improvement projects.
  • We have now received official word that we will be awarded this grant, which would likely start at some point in early 2015.

 

For the Lookout Creek Watershed Project:

  • The second of three watershed stakeholder meetings was held. 
  • Work continued on the Lookout Creek Watershed Management Plan draft, which has now been made available for comments. 
  • We also conducted a presentation for the Dade County Commission where we described the plan and sought comments on its content.

 

For the Upper Oostanaula Watershed Project:

  • We again sampled fecal coliform bacteria, turbidity, and several other water quality parameters at several sites within the watershed. 
  • Work continued on the Upper Oostanaula Watershed Management Plan draft.
  • The second of three watershed stakeholder meetings was also held. 

 

For the Holly Creek Watershed Project:

  • We continued sampling for fecal coliform bacteria and total suspended at various sites within the watershed.
  • Work continued on the Holly Creek Watershed Management Plan draft.
  • We also assisted with the planning and implementation of Murray 4-H H2O Camp, which included an Adopt-A-Stream Workshop.  A Canoe Cleanup Float down the Conasauga River has been rescheduled for early August.
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