Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories
Georgia: Little Ochlockonee River
Agricultural Best Management Practices Reduce Fecal Coliform Bacteria
Waterbody ImprovedRunoff from poultry operations and other agricultural areas carried high levels of fecal coliform (FC) bacteria into the Little Ochlockonee River, preventing a nine-mile segment of the river from achieving its designated use for fishing. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) added the segment to its Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list in 2000. Landowners constructed agricultural best management practices (BMPs) that reduced FC bacteria runoff from farms. As a result, the river segment meets its designated use and is no longer impaired by FC. In 2006 GDNR removed the nine-mile portion of the Little Ochlockonee River from Georgia's list of impaired waters.
State partners involved in the effort include the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, which provided office space, technical assistance and educational outreach help; the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District, which helped promote the project and implement BMPs; and the Southwest Georgia Regional Development Center, which provided geographical information system support and data as well as technical assistance. Federal agencies also supported the project, including the NRCS, which provided direct technical assistance to agricultural producers and helped develop conservation plans and design and approve BMPs; and the Farm Service Agency, which provided planning and technical support and data collection. Regional and local governments—including the Boards of Commissioners for Mitchell, Calhoun, Baker, Grady, and Decatur counties—also supported the project.
In total, the partners spent $13,455 of FY02 CWA section 319 funds on BMPs installed in the Little Ochlockonee River watershed. The funds supported constructing and installing BMPs and provided 60 percent of total costs up to a $6,000 maximum for each BMP. Producers provided the remaining 40 percent of BMP costs. EQIP funding was also made available to producers at a 50-50 cost share ratio.