Clean Mountain Streams

Help the Headwaters

Clean Mountain Streams mean:  Clean drinking water for millions of Georgians; Fishing, canoeing, and kayaking that drive our mountain economies;  healthy habit for fish, salamanders, and crayfish.

The issue: Sedimentation is the greatest threat to our headwater streams.  Sediment in streams destroys wildlife habitat (stresses fish by making it harder for them to breath, smothers salamander eggs, buries habitat for aquatic invertebrates that fish and birds eat), makes water filtration plants more expensive to operate, and increases flooding.  In a forested landscape, unpaved roads are the biggest source of sediment.

In Georgia, the Forest Service is responsible for over 1,200 miles of roads.  But Congressionally appropriated funds are only a third of estimated maintenance costs.  The result is that many roads are in bad shape, limiting visitor access and harming our streams.

Making matters worse, a small percentage of forest visitors are driving their vehicles off of the roads, making trails and tearing-up the mountainsides.

The Goal:  To improve stream health by reducing sedimentation in the Chattahoochee National Forest.  We will use a three-pronged strategy to achieve that goal:

  • Close or rehabilitate the five roads in the worst condition;
  • Document and close all major illegal motor-vehicle trail networks;
  • Document road issues adjacent to rare species habitat.

Van Lear, D.H., Taylor, G.B. and Hansen, W.F., 1998. Sediment sources to the Chattooga River. In Proceedings of the ninth biennial southern silvicultural research conference. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-20. Asheville, NC: US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station (pp. 357-362).

Press Release and Update May, 2021

Get involved:  
We meet first Fridays of the month @ 2pm!
Our next Community Action Group: Friday July 2, 2021 @ 2pm on Zoom

General Resources:
Problem Roads
Press Release and Update May, 2021
Trout Unlimited Community Science Sedimentation SurveysA great resource for effectively identifying Forest road issues, helping protect aquatic species, and keep your mountain streams CLEAN!
Avenza Mapping BasicsLearn how to use a very powerful monitoring tool on your smartphone and send in important data about the Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest to Georgia ForestWatch.
Elected officials of Georgia’s National Forests
Forest Service roads and recreation staff contact
Sample Call Script for Representative ClydeCall your Congressman about deteriorating forest roads. Here’s what you can say.
Signup to call your representative
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests Travel Analysis Report (TAR)

Darnell Creek Road Resources:
District Leader Marie Dunkle’s report on her last visit to Darnell Creek Road
Darnell Creek Call Script for Representative Clyde
Sign up to call Representative Clyde
Profile of Andrew Clyde
Tips on writing a letter to the editor
Example Letter to the editor for Rabun County
Images of Darnell Creek Road

Flatlands Road
Flatlands road Forest Service call script

Past Community Action Groups:
Friday June 4th, 2021 Successes and new challenges in Cashes Valley
Friday May 7th, 2021 Mapping Road Sedimentation and Community Science
Friday April 2nd, 2021 Darnell Creek Road Community Action Group
Friday March 5th, 2021 Charlies Creek Road Community Action Group
Friday, January 29, 2021 Reaching out to decision-makers
Friday, December 18th, 2020 Clean Mountain Streams KICKOFF!

Past Clean Mountain Streams Outings:
Workday Sediment Survey Cashes Valley with Jess 6.18.21
Sediment Surveying on Darnell Creek Road with Jess 5.21.21
Charlies Creek Road with Melanie and Eddi 3.23.21
Mapping Workday at Tray with Andrew 3.15.21
Bad Roads with David and Jess 1.25.21
Documenting illegal trails with Cliff and Jess 1.05.21