Rehabilitating Oostanaula Creek: Use of Stream Enhancement and Agricultural BMPs, CFD Modeling, and University Students
Neff, K., A. L. Ludwig, J. Schwartz, B. Connell, and F. R. Walker.  2012.  Proceedings.

Abstract:
A reach of Oostanaula Creek (McMinn County) impacted directly by cattle was selected for stream rehabilitation to integrate into curriculum of EV595 (Stream Restoration Design, UTK). Impacts in this reach included impaired water quality (sediment and bacteria), degraded instream habitat, channel widening, non-ecologically functioning riparian corridor, and stream bank failure. Students completed an assessment and preliminary restoration design while learning principles in fluvial geomorphology, stream ecology, ecohydrology/ecohydraulics, biomonitoring/bioassessment, aquatic habitat modeling, and agricultural best management practices (BMPs). The hydraulic flow patterns were modeled in River2D to assess bed and bank sheer stresses, and instream velocities, to facilitate stable restoration design by identifying placement of structures and sizing substrate. Approximately 300 feet of stream was rehabilitated through the addition of instream habitat, bank stabilization best management practices, and riparian vegetation enhancement. Fencing was installed to restrict cattle access to Oostanaula Creek, excluding them from the restored stream segment and limiting them to a constructed narrow crossing. Features included coconut coir geolifts, toe rock structures, and cedar tree revetments to stabilize failing banks; use of boulders to modify hydraulics and resultant geomorphology; substrate addition for enhancement of macroinvertebrate habitat; and native riparian plantings to enhance bank stability and canopy cover. By enhancing habitat and reducing cattle impacts to this stream reach, we hope to multiply and diversify the aquatic and riparian species. As part of a 319(h) grant, this project also serves as an example to other landowners by demonstrating practices to enhance and protect the waters in Oostanaula Watershed.