Without water quality monitoring data, it would be almost impossible to effectively prioritize the Coalition’s work. Although government agencies do collect some data, it is often on a 5-year cycle and only on the largest bodies of water. HRWC and its army of volunteers, has been monitoring water chemistry monthly at 18 stations since 1999! Today we have a total of 55 monthly monitoring sites and E. coli concentrations are also measured in the warmer months.
We do hands-on water quality improvement projects to reduce erosion, improve wildlife habitat, manage stormwater runoff, and eliminate sources of bacterial contamination along rivers and streams. Since 2000, the Coalition has brought $6.8 million in grant funding into the Hiwassee River watershed. 93% of these funds were spent for on-the-ground projects and programs to facilitate water quality improvements in areas where it has declined!
In 2007, the Coalition published the Lake Chatuge Watershed Action Plan to guide future work to improve the ecological health of the lake and stop an increase in algae concentrations that began in the 1990s. Projects to reduce phosphorus and nitrate concentrations continue, as funding allows. HRWC also hosts an annual shoreline clean-up on Chatuge and provides volunteers and assistance for clean-ups hosted by other organizations on Hiwassee, Nottely and Apalachia as well.
HRWC works to inspire change in attitudes and choices of residents in the Hiwassee River watershed. From walks on the River Walk with elementary school children to developing local, low cost erosion control training program for contractors, our goal is to show people of all ages that their actions can make a difference for water quality, both positively and negatively! There is always something more to learn about sustaining good water quality.
The HRWC leadership believes that for water resources to truly be protected, citizens must first develop a passion for them and then be provided with the tools to participate in protection and restoration efforts. The Coalition works to improve public access to rivers, lakes and streams and hosts an outings program to help people enjoy the resources. We also provide diverse volunteer opportunities to enable residents to participate in sustaining good water quality!
Clean Water For You, By You.
The Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition is a 20-year-old private, nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining good water quality in creeks, lakes and rivers that flow into the Hiwassee River. The Coalition works with local landowners, governments, schools and businesses to understand and address threats to our water resources.Learn More
There are a wide variety of ways that you can help make a positive difference for clean water in the Hiwassee River watershed! In addition to becoming a member of the organization, here are 10 more ways that you can make a difference and the good news about these ideas is that most of them cost you nothing!Learn More
Lake Chatuge is a 7,000-acre manmade impoundment of the Hiwassee River. The dam was constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1942 and was originally built to store water to help reduce flood damage and aid navigation in the Tennessee River downstream.Learn More