Green River watershed receives grant for assessment

Published 4:49 pm Monday, April 29, 2013

This picture was taken during a Lake Adger boat tour last year and shows a bank with erosion damage and a downed tree. (photo by Leah Justice)

This picture was taken during a Lake Adger boat tour last year and shows a bank with erosion damage and a downed tree. (photo by Leah Justice)

The Green River Watershed Alliance (GRWA), through the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC), received a $15,000 grant last year to do an assessment of the Green River Watershed, including Lake Adger, to identify sedimentation and erosion issues and recommend solutions.

GRWA founder Sky Conard announced the grant to Polk County Commissioners during the county’s April 22 meeting and discussed some of the watershed’s sediment problems.

“The purpose of this project is to identify/prioritize the stressors (like sediment or nutrient pollution, storm water runoff or erosion), which degrade water quality and to specify feasible initiatives that would address these problems while allowing sustainable development, outdoor recreation, business and residential life to prosper,” Conard told commissioners. “The project also hopes to improve public involvement and interest in this relatively intact and high quality natural resource.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The grant was received from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with IPDC administering the funds and Altamont Environmental Engineering implementing the study to document the condition of the waterways.

Conard said because of the modest funding, the focus of the study would remain in Polk County, beginning at the Narrows on the Green River, continuing into Lake Adger and ending soon after the Turner Shoals Dam. GRWA is providing volunteer man-hours, community outreach and kayaks to assist with the assessment.

Polk County owns the Lake Adger basin with plans to use the lake as a future drinking water reservoir. The Green River Watershed is a sub-basin of the Broad River basin, with 42 percent of the watershed located in Polk County (36,825 acres) and 58 percent of the watershed located in Henderson County (50,645 acres), according to Conard’s presentation.

Study results will be made public information through a study website and could be used to supplement the N.C. Department of Water Quality Broad River Basin-wide Plan report due out in 2013-2014, Conard said.

Conard said it is her hope that the Green River assessment will mark the beginning of needed protection, restoration and revitalization of the county’s waterways in the name of clean water.

The data that will be generated from this grant will speak to the present conditions of the river and Lake Adger after 88 years (Green River was damned in 1925) and could justify application for further grant funds for more clean water projects and opportunities, Conard said, including public watershed education, bank/buffer stabilization projects, water quality monitoring or establishing a public greenway/riverside park with amenities like canoe/kayak access, soccer fields, picnic/camping and environmental educational center.