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Before and after photos of the Morgan Creek stream restoration project
Channel work is complete on the Morgan Creek Stream Restoration Project in Cherokee County, NC! Native shrubs and small trees will be planted this fall. Funded by the NC Section 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Program, the project saved an estimated 218 tons of sediment per year from entering the Valley River less than half a mile downstream! Thanks to Wildlands Engineering, Logan Utility Construction, and their subcontractors for excellent work on this project from start to finish! Much appreciation also goes to the landowners, particularly the Murphy Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses ( Kingdom Hall) and the NC Dept. of Transportation (highway and rail divisions), for their participation, cooperation and assistance.
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Snorkeling in the Hiwassee River

Aug 26, 8am-4pm

Streams in the Cherokee National Forest have an extraordinarily diverse assemblage of fish. In the clear waters of the snorkeling sites, it is typical to see 15 to 20 species of fish on any given day. This outing has been scheduled as group program through the Ocoee Whitewater Center. The cost is $30/each. Transportation, wetsuits, masks and snorkels are included. Participants should bring their own lunch and drinking water. We must have 12 in order to go, but can only take a maximum of 24. Please register for this outing: 

admin@hrwc.net or 

828-837-5414. 

Nottely Headwaters Waterfall Tour

Aug 29, 1:00

Led by local hiker and naturalist, Mickey Cummings, we'll visit several waterfalls in the headwaters of the Nottely River watershed near the southern boundary of Union County, Ga. The outing will begin at Vogel State Park. We'll hike about two miles roundtrip on a portion of the Bear Hair Trail to one waterfall and then we'll carpool to others, including Helton Creek Falls. The hike is moderate, but we can take our time. The other trails are short and fairly easy. This outing is offered free of charge, but please let us know in advance if you're planning to attend: 

cmoore@hrwc.net or 

828-837-5414. 

Wine Tasting at 

Crane Creek Vineyards

September 3

5:30-7:00

We're bringing back an old favorite this year in honor of our 20th anniversary! The evening will feature tastings of local wines offered by Crane Creek Vineyards, as well as amazing hors d'oeuvres, the food for which will be mostly locally-sourced! More information coming soon. Save the date to join us for a lovely evening at the vineyard! 

State of the Water

September 14

6:00pm

The HRWC executive director will provide an update on the "state of the water" across the 4-county area. Those in attendance will learn about how water quality is doing in our lakes, rivers, and streams including an overview of recent sampling that's been conducted in our watershed. Following this presentation, Coalition staff members will provide an overview of what we've been working on in various program areas including Education, Restoration, and Lake Chatuge and a summary of our plans for the coming year. Participants will be asked to provide input into our work plans for 2016 and given the opportunity to help us prioritize our work. This year we'll be in Towns County at the Recreation/ Conference Center at Foster Park. Refreshments will be served. 

Apalachia Lake Paddle Trip & N. Shoal Falls

September 23

1:00-5:00

Experience our very own wilderness lake on the first day of Autumn! We'll put in below Hiwassee Dam and paddle the upper section of the lake down to North Shoal Creek. A short hike to North Shoal Creek Falls will be included. We'll take out at Morrow Road. Fishing and swimming are both options, although not in the same location! $15/person. Please register early as this outing has a 12 boat limit! Thanks largely to Wood's Outdoor Adventures, we can provide up to 14 people with a seat in a canoe. Please register: cmoore@hrwc.net or 

828-837-5414.

Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition's

20th Birthday Party - Aug 22, 2-5pm


20th anniversary celebration announcementWe are celebrating our 20th anniversary on Saturday, August 22, from 2-5 pm at the L&N Depot in downtown Murphy! Everyone is invited to come celebrate with us! There is no admission fee. The event is being held to honor leaders throughout our history, thank our donors and supporters, and introduce new people to the organization. Free canoe tours will be offered on Hiwassee Lake and Gnarly Fingers will provide music! There will be games and hands-on activities for kids. Birthday cake and lemonade will be served. Other refreshments will also be available for purchase. Face painting will be offered (for a fee) by Macon Faces! And a raffle will be held with a grand prize of more than $150 worth of local restaurant gift certificates. New memberships will only be $20 at the event! At 3:00 there will be a brief program, announcement of a challenge by the board of directors, and cake cutting. Join in the fun and learn more about the only organization working 365 days a year to help ensure clean water! And bring some friends...

From the board room to the festival table...

from the kitchen to the stream... 

Volunteers make it happen! 


Volunteers learn how to measure pH at a recent Adopt-A-Stream workshop
Nicole Abney (left), Joseph Pate and Chris King (right) are taught how to measure pH by HRWC Adopt-A-Stream trainer, Amanda Kanack (center).

   Three new volunteers were certified to sample water chemistry and bacterial concentrations at the June 13th training workshop held at the Young Harris College, Outdoor Leadership Center. They bring the total number of active volunteers on the coalition's Adopt-A-Stream team to 32. Two new streams were also added: Brasstown and Peachtree Creeks! Thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers in the Adopt-A-Stream program! 

     Volunteers also helped with the Trout Dinner fundraiser on May 21st, our activities during the Art, River, & Music Festival on June 6, and our Day at the C.R.E.E.K. summer youth education program (see below). Our 20th anniversary planning committee is all-volunteer, as is our board of directors! Without our volunteers, we wouldn't accomplish half of our work plans each year. 

     What's coming up for you to get involved in? We'll need volunteers to work at the wine tasting fundraiser at Crane Creek Vineyards on Sept 3 (ticket table, refilling food trays, parking). You're invited to cut and batter okra on Sept 15 to help us prepare for our food booth at the Folk School Fall Festival - the fried okra and sweet tea was a big hit last year! Speaking of the festival, we'll need lots of help staffing that booth on both Saturday and Sunday - did I mention you get a free pass to festival after your 2-hour shift is finished? We'll be having some tree planting workdays this fall in both Hayesville (Town Creek) and Tomotla (Morgan Creek). And the next Adopt-A-Stream workshop is set for Saturday, October 24th. If none of these ideas ring your bell, just get in touch and I'm sure we can come up with another way you can help with your talents and interest! 

     THANKS again to all of you who give so freely of your time and energy to this organization! We appreciate you!!   

HRWC Offers Technical Assistance to

Organizations and Landowners


Just the other day a friend was complaining about driveway erosion and runoff issues. I mentioned that the HRWC restoration coordinator could come take a look at it and make recommendations on how to fix it... or at least make improvements. She said, "I never thought about the coalition for that." For a small fee, the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition offers landowners in the 4-county area on-site technical assistance visits. Our expertise includes:
  • stream bank or lake shoreline erosion issues
  • drainage issues and stormwater control
  • installing rain gardens & other native landscape features
  • invasive plant treatment/control 
  • planting or enhancing streamside areas or lake shorelines
  • private road construction and maintenance

We also maintain a list of recommended grading contractors that have taken advantage of educational opportunities we've provided and/or have worked with us before on stream restoration projects. We can recommend engineers if more extensive work is needed and we can tell you all about any permits that are needed and how to apply for them. We also have a list of landscapers and nurseries that specialize in native plants. Contact Tony Ward to schedule a technical assistance visit: restore@hrwc.net or 828-837-5414.

A Day at the C.R.E.E.K. 

Summer Youth Education


Youth chase fish into a seine during C.R.E.E.K. camps in 2015

The water was too high in the Valley River/Hiwassee Lake this year for the Cherokee County C.R.E.E.K. at Konehete Park, but we had a full combined Clay/Cherokee County camp at Fires Creek in July. With the help of water quality professionals, students used scientific equipment to collect data for an authentic environmental research experience. We investigated microscopic pond dwellers, got to know the difference between native and invasive plants, created our own aquatic creatures, conducted water quality tests, sampled the water for fish species and more!  The camp was free of charge to participants thanks to our sponsors: 
Blairsville Kiwanis Club and Tennessee Valley Authority. Also thanks to funding from TVA, next year we are planning to go back to a week-long C.R.E.E.K. camp for kids ages 10-13. Visit our Scrapbook to view photos from C.R.E.E.K. 2015!

     As we celebrate more than 20 years of working to sustain good water quality in the rivers, lakes and streams of the upper Hiwassee River basin, the board of directors is also taking a look at what our next 20 years might be like. There have been lots of changes in the watershed, in our local governments, our communities...particularly over the past decade. We are conducting a survey of our contributing members to try to understand what motivates individuals to support this organization and to learn what issues they think are the most pressing ones to work one. Unfortunately we don't have the capacity to do all the things we'd like to do and we have to set priorities! If you are a contributing member and haven't yet completed your survey - this is your final reminder to do so before August 5. If you feel that you are a contributing member, but this is the first you've heard about the survey, please email me and I will send you the link with my deepest apologies for the oversight. 

     I hope to see a good crowd at the August 22nd celebration! Please consider at least stopping in to sign the guest book and eat a bite of birthday cake. It will be cut at 3:30pm, right after the announcement by our board of directors of a very exciting initiative/challenge. 

 

See you around the watershed, 

Callie D. Moore

Executive Director