Meeting April 8 for cost-sharing grant for watershed
by Elsie Hodnett
ST. CLAIR COUNTY — The St. Clair County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting a meeting to provide more information on a cost-sharing grant for the Broken Arrow Creek Watershed.

“Last year, we received a three-year grant for the Broken Arrow Creek Watershed Project, which will provide $100,000 to address conservation and water quality in St. Clair County,” said Charity Mitcham, St. Clair County Soil and Water Conservation District project coordinator.

Mitcham said the meeting is from 6-8 p.m. April 8 at the St. Clair County Head Start on U.S. 231. The event is free and dinner is provided. However, you must pre-register to receive dinner by calling 205-338-7215 or email stclaircharitymitcham@yahoo.com.

Mitcham said the grant, funded by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is for landowners and land users to be used for cost-sharing to control sediment in the Broken Arrow Creek Watershed, a designated fish and wildlife stream located in St. Clair County that flows 21.37 miles from its headwaters to the Coosa River. It encompasses about 41 square miles, located in the east central part of the county, and drains to the Coosa River.

U.S. 231, Alabama 174, Alabama 144 and several county roads travel through the Broken Arrow Creek Watershed. It includes part of the city of Pell City and parts of unincorporated St. Clair County including the community of Coal City. The headwaters of Broken Arrow Creek are found in the northwest portion of the watershed. The stream flows southwest under U.S. 231 and continues southwest before turning southeast back under U.S. 231 and continues southeast until it flows into the Coosa River near Riverside.

“Landowners in parts of Ragland, Pell City, Riverside, Coal City and Wattsville may qualify for cost-share and receive up to 75 percent of the cost back from the Broken Arrow Watershed Project,” she said. “The project seeks to help landowners and land users reduce the amount of sediments leaving their land. The goal of the project is to improve, protect and maintain the beneficial uses and water quality standards of the Broken Arrow Creek Watershed through a public-private partnership. Public input and involvement form the backbone of the project.”

Mitcham said the project is led by the St. Clair County Soil and Water Conservation District with technical assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Broken Arrow Creek Watershed provides technical advice as well as cost-share funds.

“Some examples of potential cost-share projects for agriculture land users include heavy use area, cross fencing, pasture planting, tree planting, water troughs, stream crossing and stream bank stabilization or restoration,” she said.

Mitcham said one example would be in a heavy use area, a place cattle would gather to drink, that would mud up when it rains.

“The landowner could put down filter cloth with a type of crush and run rock to help prevent the cattle from becoming stuck,” she said. “Another example would be fencing off the creek—the landowner could receive assistance to put in water troughs because the cattle could no longer reach the creek.”

Mitcham said since it is a three-year grant, landowners could apply for more than one project, such as putting in cross fencing and tree planting, or other projects depending on the need.

For more information about implementing a cost-share practice, call Charity Mitcham at 205-338-7215.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

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