The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program
ACF Study Design: Surface Water Indicator Sites
Six indicator sites located on small streams having drainage areas ranging from about 18-105 sq mi, represent target land uses and physiography. West Fork Little River, the most upstream basin, represents water quality in an area of intensive poultry production. The primary issue is nutrient input from poultry litter that is spread on pastures surrounding the production areas. Sope Creek and Peachtree Creek are located within Metropolitan Atlanta and represent water quality in intensive urban and suburban watersheds, respectively. Sope Creek receives runoff from residential areas, and from suburban commercial areas and transportation networks that are less dense than areas within the City of Atlanta. Peachtree Creek receives runoff from dense commercial areas and transportation networks associated with the City of Atlanta, and inputs from combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Snake Creek receives runoff from an area that is predominantly forested. Tracts of land within the basin have been harvested for pulp and lumber and, therefore, the basin does not represent an unimpacted control watershed. However, since about sixty percent of the ACF River basin is forested, and under some type of silvicultural management, Snake Creek is typical and representative of forested basins within the study unit. Lime Creek and Aycocks Creek represent water quality in areas of intensive row-crop agriculture. Unlike parts of the United States where large, continuous tracts of land often are farmed to the stream bank, farming in the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States is generally limited to well-drained uplands. This results in smaller and more discontinuous farm fields that do not extend to the river bank. Instead, streams generally are protected from overland runoff by natural buffers consisting of forested wetlands and floodplains. However, the potential remains high for the movement of farm chemicals to streams because the climate and availability of ground water for irrigation are favorable for multi-cropping practices that can result in the application of nutrients and pesticides to fields throughout much of the year.
View maps of data-collection sites