Over the past 15 years, the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition has brought $6.8 million in grant funding into the upper Hiwassee River watershed. Approximately 93% of these funds were spent for on-the-ground projects and programs to facilitate water quality improvements in areas where it has declined!
- Conducting stream and riparian restoration activities along more than 8.5 miles of stream, river and lake shorelines to reduce bank erosion and failure and improve aquatic habitat.
- Maintaining an extensive network of volunteer water quality monitoring stations that provide water quality data on a monthly basis. [We now have 15 years of data for sites in the upper Hiwassee and Nottely River watersheds in north Georgia.]
- Developing a watershed plan for Lake Chatuge and beginning implementation by employing a full-time watershed coordinator and repairing leaking or failing septic systems, installing agricultural best management practices, and assisting landowners and local governments with stormwater management.
- Working with the City of Hiawassee to develop and adopt a stormwater ordinance – the first such tool to be used by a local government in the Hiwassee River watershed!
- Holding annual C.R.E.E.K. (Creative & Recreational Environmental Education for Kids) Days events in summer. [There are now more than 200 C.R.E.E.K. graduates!] In 2013, assisted staff from Coweeta Hydrologic Lab in hosting a Clay County “Kids in the Creek” program.
- Organizing an annual shoreline litter sweep on Lake Chatuge. Nearly four tons of trash has been removed from the shoreline by volunteers since the clean-ups began in 2011.
- Hosting Alternative Spring Break groups from ten different universities in seven states, generating $17,000-$25,000 in grant matching funds annually, in addition to getting a ton of restoration project stewardship work done!
- Working extensively with other nonprofit organizations in southwestern NC on a regional erosion and sediment control education initiative and securing funding to develop a standard curriculum for training grading contractors locally!
- Providing a low cost rental program to farmers for a no-till grain drill. [HRWC’s drill can still be rented at a low cost at Peachtree Farm & Home Supply.]
- Completing a plan for improving public recreational access and developing a comprehensive web site for providing information about recreation access points in the watershed.