Green River Watershed assessment finds erosion, sedimentation

Published 11:29 pm Monday, March 3, 2014

The Polk County Board of Commissioners reviewed a Green River Watershed assessment last month, which found the streams to be relatively stable, but there are areas of erosion that need to be addressed.

The assessment was completed through a grant obtained by the Green River Watershed Alliance in the fall of 2013. The grant was administered through Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) with the assessment performed by Altamont Environ-mental Inc.

County commissioners reviewed the assessment on Feb. 17 with Stu Ryman and Zan Price with Altamont presenting.

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Price said the Green River Watershed encompasses a good portion of Polk and Henderson counties with the study focused from Lake Adger to the county line. The assessment also in- cluded eight tributaries that flow into the Green River. Price said the watershed in Polk County is about 80 percent forest, 10 percent agriculture and 10 percent developed land.

Altamont showed pictures of Lake Adger, including a historical picture where sediment bars were showing during the study, but were not visible in the 1950s. Price said the lake has been there for about 90 years and as far as he knows there hasn’t been any dredging.

“The dam impedes sediment flow and has accumulated over the years,” said Price.

He also showed photographs comparing the lake in 2004 and 2013 and said over the course of 10 years it appears a tremendous amount of sediment has washed down from the Green River.

Altamont found that stable sites had good buffer protecting the stream banks but areas of con- cern were turbid water (chocolate brown water flowing means sediment is being transported downstream and accumulates in the lake), areas of lack of buffer, areas of human impacts and erod- ing banks.

The assessment recommends that the watershed be stabilized by adopting storm water best management practices (BMPs) and to dredge the lake to remove accumulated sediment.

Altamont engineers said they’ve done research and there is grant money that can assist the county.

Commissioner Tom Pack said he knows there used to be dredging of Lake Adger because when he was a kid they used to jump into the lake but once the dredging stopped it slowly started filling in. Commissioners said commercial operations used to take sand but for unknown reasons those opera- tions stopped.

Price said the dredging would have to be permitted through the Army Corps of Engineers.