To address sediment pollution in the Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests, MountainTrue developed a program called Muddy Water Watch. The program closes illegal roads and repairs roads and trails that cause sediment impact to waterways.
Using funds from the NFF Matching Awards Program, we built on previously successful projects and expand our work to close and repair roads that negatively impact water quality in Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests. With the grant we worked on four different road sections, totally more than nine miles of Forest Service Roads. We significantly reduced erosion by closing more than 35 illegal roads and eliminated access for off-road vehicles to prevent further damage to the landscape.
U.S. Forest Service roads often had sediment erosion problems. When this happened, we stepped in to help repair the roads that were impairing water quality. In addition to the illegal roads that were closed, this project significantly reduced erosion by building 78 water bars, fixing six large mud holes, fixing four ditches, repairing five culverts, restoring three stream segments, and installing two gates, which will allow for seasonal closure for more than three miles of road.
The grant also played a critical role to secure additional funding. MountainTrue leveraged our NFF grant to obtain a $36,666 grant from American Rivers, enabling us to work on three additional areas for water quality improvements.
Each of these sites has seen a dramatic reduction of sediment thanks to our efforts, and thus an overall improvement in water quality in the French Broad River watershed. Each site will be monitored over the next several years to make sure the work was effective and additional work is not needed.