Upper Oostanaula Watershed
The Upper Oostanaula Watershed Project began in 2012 when Limestone Valley was awarded a Clean Water Act Section 319 grant to focus attention on improving the water quality in the streams of the watershed, as well as the Oostanaula River within the area. This first grant was focused around extensive water quality sampling and macroinvertebrate sampling efforts, an investigation into the sources of nonpoint source pollutants, extensive watershed mapping, and most importantly, the development of a Watershed Management Plan (WMP). The purpose of the WMP was to define a method to improve the water quality as well as prevent further degradation within the watershed, that can be implemented through “on-the-ground” efforts within the watershed to improve water quality. Another aspect of the project was for Limestone Valley to lead a stakeholder process to ensure community support when the WMP is implemented. 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 second phase of the Upper Oostanaula Watershed Project is slated to begin in November of 2015, when a second grant is likely to be officially awarded to implement the watershed management plan and conduct “on-the-ground” efforts to improve water quality in the watershed. The grant will include funds to provide financial assistance for repairs on failing septic systems, agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs), and nutrient management plans. The septic system repair and agricultural BMP efforts will be greatly assisted by the North Georgia Health District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), respectively. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and Georgia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts will assist us in learning the nutrient management planning process. In addition, we will be conducting extensive follow-up water quality sampling as part of the grant. Volunteer outreach will likely include annual stream cleanups and other volunteer activities including riparian tree planting events.
As always, we are trying to find some potential locations to conduct tree planting events along streams in the watershed. If you live in the watershed and have an interest in cost-shares for agricultural best management practices (BMPs), nutrient management planning, 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.
The map above the Upper Oostanaula Watershed (HUC 0315010301) and the subwatersheds within it.