The Chattooga Conservancy, in cooperation with the GA Department of Natural Resources, is in the final stages of completing the Warwoman Creek Watershed Management Plan (WMP). The Georgia EPD’s 2016 List of Waters identifies Warwoman Creek as impaired due to excessive sediment, with the lower portion (from Sarah’s Creek to the Chattooga River) also impaired due to fecal coliform. Roach Mill Creek, a tributary of Warwoman Creek, and Law Ground Creek, a tributary of the West Fork of the Chattooga River, are both listed as impaired due to excessive sediment as well. The goal of the Warwoman WMP is to facilitate timely implementation of management strategies and corrective and protective actions to improve water quality in the watershed. Several additional tributaries of Warwoman Creek and the West Fork were also included in the study, as both are major tributaries to the Chattooga River.
The Warwoman Creek Watershed encompasses over 45,000 acres in northeast Georgia, extending to the east and north of the Warwoman Dell area, and includes four sub-basins: the Upper Warwoman, Lower Warwoman, West Fork of the Chattooga River, and Headwaters of the West Fork of the Chattooga River. The Headwaters of the West Fork sub-basin extends into North Carolina for an additional 16,000+ acres. Water sampling throughout the Georgia portion of the watershed was conducted from May to September, and included testing for both turbidity and fecal coliform at each site. The highest geometric mean values of fecal coliform readings were from sample sites on Warwoman Creek between Black Diamond Rd and Earl’s Ford Rd, with the highest being from the sample site at the bridge over Warwoman Creek on Earl’s Ford Rd. The highest geometric mean value of turbidity readings was from Reed Mill Creek, a tributary to the West Fork.
Hot spots for sediment and/or fecal coliform pollution identified during surveys and sampling include:
- Unpaved roads within riparian buffer zones;
- Campsites within riparian buffer zones, absent best management practices (BMPs);
- Agriculture/pasture within riparian buffer zones, absent BMPs; and
- On-site waste disposal and associated septic systems potentially near or within riparian buffer zones
The Warwoman WMP includes a review of the watershed’s history; a description of the watershed; visual stream surveys; all water quality monitoring data; identified priority action sites for remediation; an extensive list of BMPs that may be implemented for pollution sources; and a list of financial and technical resources. The project also involved cooperation of a Watershed Advisory Committee, consisting of representatives from local and regional government departments, state and federal agencies, citizens’ groups, and environmental groups, as well as input from the public. Completion of the Warwoman WMP will enable future water quality improvement projects in the watershed to qualify for state and federal funding applications.
Once the Warwoman WMP is finalized, it will be made available on our website in its entirety.