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Watershed restoration and sustainable management have been increasingly accepted as effective tools to improve watershed functions and health, and thus maximize the ecological services such as clean and consistent water resource supply. As such, it is critical to identify and address significant knowledge gaps and to develop innovative techniques to support implementation of watershed restoration practices and policies.

Oostanaula Creek within McMinn and Monroe Counties of Tennessee is listed as an impaired waterbody due to pathogens (E. coli), phosphates and siltation. To successfully remove waters within the planning area from the Tennessee 303(d) list requires the following reductions: 67.7% reduction of pathogens based on the TMDL; 59.4% reduction in sediment based on the TMDL; and a 79% reduction of phosphorus based on Ecoregion reference streams.

This initiative aims at illustrating the importance of developing an effective and integrated land management and monitoring approach for community stakeholders, which include local land owners, communities, authorities and resource managers, as they are required to make coherent, informed decisions regarding land resources and their future.

Like many rural areas, Athens and McMinn County are still in the early phases of responding to growth and development pressures. There is thus a tremendous opportunity to further existing efforts in implementing smart growth principles and policies that will help strengthen those attributes of the region so valued by residents. To meet these challenges, the Oostanaula Creek Watershed will need to focus particular attention on:

1) preventing pollution from occurring,

2) reducing the amount of runoff and pollutants,

3) intercepting runoff and pollutants prior to entering the creek, and

4) promoting public participation and enforcement.

Please explore this site to learn about what has been done, by whom, and what you can do to help restore and enhance Oostanaula Creek and the surrounding lands.