Upatoi Creek Flow Restoration
The aquatic systems in the Upatoi Creek watershed have been highly altered by dams and other barriers to the free flow of water, with severe impacts on the native fish community. These barriers block fish migrations, preventing fish populations from accessing the full range of habitats over their life cycle. Barriers also alter the natural flow of water, changing the temperature, chemical composition, dissolved oxygen levels, sediment loads and other physical factors related to stream health. Additionally, studies have shown that the abundance of small dams and reservoirs in the ACF basin contribute significantly to evaporative losses of water from this system.
Two dam removal projects on the Hopkins tract in Marion County present immediate opportunities to restore connectivity and hydrologic function and reduce the inflow of sediment, which negatively impacts habitat downstream. A series of three impoundments on the tributary to Juniper Creek cross this tract. The lower two dams have been breached and need further modification. The stream needs minor restoration to restore habitat, connectivity, natural hydrology and stream flow throughout the tributary.
A similar situation exists on the Little Pine Knot tract immediately on the eastern border of Fort Benning, with a small impoundment on Little Pine Knot Creek that has been breached. Removal of the remaining structure and restoration of the stream to restore habitat, connectivity, natural hydrology and stream flow are needed at this site.
The Nature Conservancy has committed staff resources to restoring connectivity in these streams on land we own as demonstration sites, where we can share techniques, challenges, lessons learned and outcomes with land owners in the surrounding landscape and across the state of Georgia.
* Project removes artificial barriers that restrict passage and/or natural flow of water for some period of the year