Clean Mountain Streams

Help the Headwaters

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

References:
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).

Get involved:  
We meet first Fridays of the month @ 2pm!
Register for our next Community Action Group: Friday March 5th, 2021 @ 2pm on Zoom
See past Community Action Groups

Resources:
Problem Roads
Avenza Mapping Basics
Trout Unlimited Community Science Sedimentation Surveys
Elected officials of Georgia’s National Forests
Forest Service roads and recreation staff contact
Flatlands road advocacy call script
Sample Call Script for Representative Clyde
Signup to call your representative

Past Clean Mountain Streams Outings:
Documenting illegal trails with Cliff and Jess 1.05.21
Bad Roads with David and Jess 1.25.21