Improving Our Watershed Using Total Maximum Daily Load Studies
Under Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Division provides funds for projects that work to reduce nonpoint source pollution in waterways. These are waters that are too polluted or otherwise degraded to meet water quality standards. Funds may be used to conduct assessments, develop TMDL's and Watershed Management Plans. A Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still safely meet water quality standards.
The RVRC is working with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to prepare Watershed Management Plans for several impaired stream segments. Watershed Management Plans will enable our local governments to make appropriate actions to mitigate these pollution levels. Impairments within the RVRC region include fecal coliform, dissolved oxygen, sediment, pH, zinc, and lead.
The RVRC is working on Watershed Management Plans for Pataula Creek in Quitman County and Pennahatchee Creek in Dooly County to reduce the load of fecal coliform. Several other TMDL projects with Georgia DNR are planned for the future.
It is the goal of the RVRC to generate ideas that will reduce pollution levels in our waterways. One of the first steps of the process is to establish sources of pollution by communicating with local governments, businesses, stakeholders, and the general community of the watershed, by conducting strategic watershed monitoring. The next step is to decide what types of Best Management Practices (BMPs) can be implemented to lessen the impairment. An example is the use of a silt fence at a construction site to reduce the amount of sediment from entering the waterways. Another example includes placing “No Dumping” signs near the stream segment to discourage illicit polluting. There are countless methods of BMPs that can be established. The RVRC is always looking for new or existing ways to mitigate these pollution levels. We encourage the public to take action and help the community by improving its watershed.
Again, we encourage public outreach. If you have any questions or concerns about your local watershed, please do not hesitate to contact the RVRC staff. Contact Lance Renfrow at 706-256-2910 if you are interested in any TMDL projects.