South Chick Headwaters
The South Chickamauga Headwaters Project began when a grant was awarded to Limestone Valley a few years ago. This initial Section 319 Clean Water Act grant was focused around the development of a Watershed Management Plan (WMP) to be implemented within the watershed to improve water quality and ensure additional degradation of water quality does not occur. A significant effort was undertaken to analyze sources of nonpoint source pollution, conduct extensive watershed mapping, and collect baseline data on water quality within the watershed during this development process. The WMP (attached below) has now been written by Limestone Valley and approved by a local stakeholder group, as well Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). The project then went into an initial phase of WMP implementation, where a few agricultural projects and septic system repairs were cost-shared upon to begin the process of improving water quality “on-the-ground”. This initial phase of the watershed improvement effort was completed at the end of 2013 and resulted in financial assistance for six water quality improvement projects on agricultural lands and approximately 30 repairs on failing septic systems in the watershed.
The second phase of the South Chickamauga Headwaters Project began in June of 2014, when a second grant was awarded to implement the watershed management plan and conduct further “on-the-ground” efforts to improve water quality in the watershed. At this point, this grant has provided financial assistance for than 50 repairs on failing septic systems within the watershed. Funds may provide for cost-shares on approximately 20 more repairs. Agricultural projects have been discussed with more than ten farmers. Planning continues for the best projects. These particular programs are greatly assisted by the North Georgia Health District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), respectively. Volunteer outreach events have included successful 4-H H2O Camps in consecutive summers. Each camp featured a stream cleanup canoe float down South Chick Creek and an Adopt A Stream workshop. Currently, we are in the process of planning some volunteer tree planting events along streams in the watershed as well.
If you live in the watershed and have an interest in cost-shares for agricultural best management practices (BMPs) or septic system repairs that are likely to improve water quality, please contact us. In addition, if you live in the watershed and have an interest in conducting water quality sampling through the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program, participating in stream cleanup events via canoe or on foot, or having trees planted along the creeks on your property, please let us know. Although funding under the current grant is proving to be limited in comparison to demand, we are planning on applying for additional funding for the project this fall.
The map above depicts the South Chickamauga Headwaters Project Area, most of which occurs upstream of the City of Ringgold, Georgia.