Cedar and Folsom Creeks Watershed

Wilcox County, Georgia

The watersheds of Cedar and Folsom Creeks were identified by the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) as a suitable project area for implementation of a Watershed Management Plan (WMP) because of the environmental conditions and impairments of the watersheds.  The watersheds comprise approximately 68,426 combined acres and are located in the northern portion of Wilcox County, Georgia.  An approximate 7-mile segment of Cedar Creek and a 9-mile segment of Folsom Creek were listed on the 2014 GA EPD 305(d)/303(d) integrated report for not supporting their designated use for fishing.  In 2007, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) implemented a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) evaluation for both Cedar and Folsom Creeks due to impaired biological communities as a result of sediment loading, which determined the need for a 68.3 percent and 60.2 percent reduction of sediment load in Cedar and Folsom Creeks, respectively.

The objective of the project was to develop and implement a nine-key element WMP using the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters.  The WMP included the long-term goal of meeting the recommended sediment load reductions in the TMDL with the intent of delisting Cedar and Folsom Creeks.  This WMP was a collaborated effort of the advisory committee, stakeholder group, GSWCC, GA EPD, and Nutter & Associates (NAI).  Funding for the WMP was financed through a grant from the US EPA to the GA EPD of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) under Provisions of the Section 319(h) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

To aid in the development of the WMP, a watershed characterization was conducted by NAI that assessed the current conditions of the watershed, established baseline conditions prior to management initiatives, identified pollutant sources, and prioritized areas for best management practices (BMPs) implementation.  To assist in calculating pollutant load reductions the Spreadsheet Tool for Estimating Pollutant Load (STEPL) watershed model was used.  Based on the results of the watershed characterization and STEPL model calculations, major sources of pollutants that flow into Cedar and Folsom creeks have been identified as unpaved roads and historic and current agricultural land use associated with stormwater runoff within each watershed.

Because of the significant sediment loading, BMPs were be selected that would reduce sediment loads associated with agricultural land use practices and unpaved roads.  In order to achieve the sediment load reductions, a series of agricultural and unpaved road BMPs will be implemented throughout the Cedar and Folsom Creek watersheds.    A modeled reduction of sediment loading shows the implementation of BMPs for the Cedar Creek watershed would result in an approximate 70% reduction in sediment and 69% reduction for the Folsom Creek watershed since GA EPD’s TMDL evaluation in 2007.

To determine if load reductions are being achieved over time and substantial progress is being made towards the ultimate goal of delisting Cedar and Folsom Creeks, success criteria and a long-term monitoring plan has been developed as a means to evaluate the success of the WMP.