The need for repair of eroding streambanks, enhancement of water quality and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat throughout the watershed has been well documented. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has prepared a Watershed Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment for Red and White Clay creeks. While not as severely as Red Clay Creek, the White Clay watershed is also experiencing non-point pollution and habitat loss. The NRCS Plan cites erosion, runoff, sedimentation, inadequate riparian vegetation and loss of wetlands as the major factors contributing to the phenomenon.Examples of activities that may be necessary and appropriate (when applied judiciously) include, but are not limited to, the following:
- streambank stabilization
- in-stream and streambank fish habitat improvement structures
- installation and recruitment of large woody debris
- fish stocking
- implementation and maintenance of erosion and sedimentation control measures
- removal of "tree dams and other obstructions
- placement of spawning gravel
- revegetation / reforestation
- wetland restoration or construction of new wetlands
- fencing of livestock away from the water's edge
- construction of livestock watering areas
- redirection and/or treatment of runoff
- maintenance of old-growth areas
- purchase of conservation easements
- purchase and transfer of development rights
Roles and Responsibilities
Streambank stabilization, water-quality enhancement and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat should be approached on an integrated, comprehensive watershed-wide basis. As such, a voluntary partnership for White Clay Creek watershed restoration should be formed to inventory and prioritize problem sites, develop an overall watershed restoration plan, provide public education, seek funding for implementation and provide support to agencies, companies, private landowners and others in their efforts towards restoration and revitalization. The partnership should include representatives of as many watershed interests as possible.Many watershed restoration activities, including streambank stabilization, installation of fisheries habitat structures and other restoration activities are considered water-resource projects. As such, they are subject to review by the National Park Service under authority of Section 7 of the Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (see detailed discussion later in this chapter).
Goals and Key Actions
- Address streambank stabilization, water-quality enhancement and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat on an integrated, comprehensive watershed-wide basis.
- Design, construct and maintain habitat improvement structures to ensure the maintenance of the free-flowing character of the river and protection of the outstandingly remarkable values of the watershed.
- Provide restoration and habitat improvement projects which are necessary for protection, conservation, rehabilitation or enhancement of river area resources, including the protection of structures on public and private property.
- Provide restoration or habitat improvement projects at a location, scale, intensity and frequency dictated by the ecological characteristics of the landscape.
- Use materials for bank stabilization which maintain and enhance the natural and aesthetic qualities of the Wild and Scenic River area. The use of natural wood and live vegetation is the preferred method.
- Ensure that activities will not result in additional adverse impacts.
- Ensure that habitat improvement structures do not create unusually hazardous conditions, or substantially interfere with current and legal recreational use of the streams.
- Initiate discussions toward formation of a partnership for the White Water Creek watershed restoration.
- Seek funding for a detailed inventory of water quality and habitat concerns and the identification of problem sites.
- Conduct a broad-based public information and education program.
- Actively seek public input into resource issues and concerns centering on rehabilitation of water quality and habitat resources.
- Develop alternatives for watershed restoration and revitalization.
- Establish priorities for treatment.
- Seek funding for implementation of needed treatments.
- Support landowners, utilities, public agencies and non-profit organizations in their efforts toward restoration and revitalization of water quality and habitat resources within the White Clay Creek watershed.
- Review water resource project proposals under Section 7(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to ensure they meet the goals of this section and other provisions of the White Clay Creek Watershed Management Plan.