Watershed Management Plan

Development of the Rock Creek Watershed Management Plan (RCWMP) began after Auburn University personnel working with the Alabama Water Watch (AWW) received a request from the Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy, Inc. (WCSLAI) for assistance with environmental outreach. Prior to this request, AWW had been active in the Smith Lake Watershed for 14 years by training citizens to monitor water quality, publishing information regarding local environmental issues, and by giving the annual “State of the Lake Address” which is sponsored by the Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee. During these yearly presentations, citizens were informed of the benefits of developing watershed management plans and how to pursue such a plan.

What is referred to as the Smith Lake Watershed encompasses a very large area. Although this project aims to improve watershed health and citizen awareness in the entire Smith Lake Watershed and beyond, they agreed that the main focus would be on the Rock Creek Watershed. Major creeks in the RCW include Rock, Crooked, Blevens, and White Oak creeks.

Rock and Crooked creeks have both been listed on the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s list of impaired waterbodies which is commonly referred to as the 303(d) list. Put simply, these creeks have had levels of pollution, specifically pathogens and nutrients that exceed what ADEM considers to be an acceptable level. This elevated the need for a Rock Creek Watershed Management Plan and also made it possible to obtain funding from ADEM for development of the Plan. To learn more about this list and what this means please visit: EPAand  ADEM

Citizens, with support from local experts, state agencies and organizations, completed the Rock Creek Watershed Management Plan in June 2010. The Plan identifies current and potential threats to water quality within the watershed and also outlines how the community will take action to address issues. To view a copy of the plan, visit the RCWMP Publications page.

Once the Watershed Management Plan was completed, it was possible to seek funding to implement the activities it outlined in order to restore the watershed. Funding was received in March 2011 and will end in March 2014. Click here to read more about specific project activities.