Grant awarded to help with Locust Fork watershed restoration



The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced a $1 million award to help restore streambanks and habitats in the Paint Rock River, Big Canoe Creek, and Locust Fork watersheds. The project, which is set to begin this summer and continue over a five-year period, will help restore degrading streambanks and enhance aquatic habitats that have been designated a priority by The Nature Conservancy and other partners.

As part of the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program, this project promotes coordination of NRCS conservation activities with partners that offer value-added contributions to expand the collective ability to address on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns.

Director of Freshwater Programs for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama Jason Throneberry said, “The Nature Conservatory will work with farmers and landowners in these watersheds to use natural channel design practices to stabilize banks, diffuse flood water, allow for natural flow regimes to reestablish, and increase in-stream habitat quality for native aquatic species.

“Streambank restoration and planting riparian buffers will also help to reconnect the rivers to floodplains, slow surface water runoff and pollution, improve aesthetic property value, and reduce further erosion.”

Based on scientific data from the Alabama Rivers and Streams Network, the targeted areas are priorities based on water quality data, habitat conditions, and biological assessments. The goal is to improve water quality and quantity, preserve biotic integrity, and promote restoration efforts for Alabama’s critical waterways.

The planned streambank restoration in these high-quality watersheds, including the Locust Fork River, is believed to be exponentially beneficial to all agencies involved. Not only would it amplify Farm Bill funds, it would also allow for further implementation of multi-tiered conservation goals in the state of Alabama.