Chris Roberts' May 6th, 2009 photo of a kinda dirty Toilet Bowl at 11" on the stick gauge, with Stephen Hughes coming through for a little scrub-a-dub. This is from a 100% release and a bunch of overnight rain. In this case a large share --- the lion's share? --- of the soil load came from Big Hungry Creek. Check a photo of the confluence from the same day.
The brown color flushing through represents likely tons of sediment per day --- washing off of Henderson County developments, building projects, roads, farms, etc. --- and fast making its way to downstream lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Disgusting.
After a series of emails with a USGS Sediment Specialist/Hydrologist, I have learned that an estimate of .01 ounces (.28 grams) of soil being carried downstream per gallon of water would be well within the range of what one could expect -- and may even be on the conservative side by a small multiple. Data exists for much larger rivers (with considerably less gradient) that corroborates this estimate.
Hey, let's do some math: With .01 ounces of soil per gallon of water and what I'll call 600 cfs for streamflow (4,488 gallons/second), there would be over 120 tons of soil per day washing through the Green Narrows following modest rain events. To visualize this amount, 120 tons basically fills six large tandem-axle dump trucks. Six dump trucks over Gorilla. Could this possibly be correct? The math works out, the USGS fella backs the numbers, and all-in-all I think it stinks. The crayfish aren't happy, the trout and otters aren't happy, the paddlers aren't happy, the oysters downstream aren't happy, etc.
To contact the proper soil conservation authorities about excessive erosion issues in any area, do it through the respective county's Soil and Water Conservation District offices. In Henderson County, the locale for much of the Green's watershed, you'd contact the Henderson County Soil and Water Conservation District. Arm yourself with a sense of professionalism, some maps and/or photos, and develop a relationship with the usually very sympathetic SWCD staffperson who handles whatever type of situation you are dealing with.
To get more involved locally with identifying erosion prone developments and working with area soil conservation personnel, consider becoming a Muddy Water Watch volunteer. Here's a link to some more information about Riverlink's local training program: http://www.riverlink.org/muddywatch.asp. Green boaters Ted Cookson and Harrison Metzger have gone through the training and have helped identify issues in the Green watershed and worked with the local SWCD staff. More people are needed.
One final thought: During the very time this minor diatribe was being first-drafted here, the photographer and the paddler in the above photo were boofing themselves down Big Creek in the Smokies. Big Creek runs crystal clear following heavy rains of 2" and more --- the way it's "supposed to be". Where there's upstream development and roads, etc., one can't get to that level of water quality on our creeks, but we can do a whole lot better than we are doing, especially in a place like the Green. The current ethic surrounding erosion control practices in western North Carolina is, plain and simple, terrible. It can change slowly over time if more people get involved and call out bad behavior.
|Author:||Chris Roberts||Location:||@Green 2. Green Narrows, NC|
|Subject:||Stephen Hughes||Rapid:||Toilet Bowl|
|AW Photo ID:||43107||AW Reach ID:||
2. Green Narrows IV-V+