Watershed Restoration

Water quality and efficient livestock production can often go hand in hand when farmers are innovative in the use of best management practices. Improving water quality in the Upper Chattahoochee Basin to protect the native Shoal and Chattahoochee Bass found there is a focus area in the Upper Chattahoochee Basin. UGA Extension is a major contributor to this effort. New sources of funding were secured for watershed restoration efforts in the Upper Chattahoochee Basin by UGA Extension agents through a collaborative partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Southeastern Aquatic Resources Partnership and UGA Extension. Extension agents identified livestock producers in the Upper Chattahoochee basin to implement watershed restoration-oriented best management practices. Producers were identified at local programs, cattleman association meetings, and through direct response to newspaper and radio ads. These producers were then directed to NRCS to develop a conservation plan. Just over $80,000 was allocated to the basin in 2020. Throughout the years agents have used a combination of 319 grants to achieve their watershed goals. Implemented practices should reduce erosion and sedimentation to the Soque River, it will improve pasture composition and quality through reduced winter feeding impact, and decrease bacteria levels due to exclusion from surface waters. The farmers will also benefit from less incidence of foot problems, less pink eye, and less time monitoring the cows since they'll come to a designated location for feeding and watering when conditions are poor in the winter.