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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

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Cherokee Critical Area Treatment --
Trout Return to Streams



In 1995, the Cherokee Tribe in southwestern North Carolina used section 319 funding to complete an erosion project that it had begun in 1988. At that time, the tribe and the Southwestern North Carolina Resource Conservation and Development Council had determined that severe erosion along access roads on tribal trust lands constituted critical areas for treatment.

The roads in question, many of them extending 3,500 to 5,500 feet above sea level, had been eroding for 20 to 30 years. The average rate of erosion was 150 tons of soil per acre per year, but along some roads, the soil loss was more than 1,000 tons per acre. By the time the Critical Area Treatment was completed, a total of 147,421 linear feet (60.8 acres) of main and access roads had been treated.

Specifically, the 319 project treated the Mill Road section, the seventh and final phase of the project. It involved regrading some 26,796 linear feet of road and reseeding the area to permanent vegetation. In sum, the Mill Road section stabilized 9.9 acres, and since its completion, soil loss has fallen to less than 6 tons per year.

In addition to installing soil-conserving measures, the Mill Road project provided enhanced habitat for bear, deer, and small game birds. These species are now very active in the area -- a direct benefit of including plants that wildlife feed on in the reseeded areas along side roads. Stream habitats have also improved as erosion and sediment controls take hold; native trout have returned to many streams.

CONTACTS: Kenneth Futreal
Southwestern North Carolina Resource Conservation and Development
(704) 452-2519
Eddie Almond
Tribal Environmental Office Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
(704) 497-3814

 


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