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Table of ContentsSavannah River Basinwide Water Quality Plan March 2007 North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Water Quality Basinwide Planning Unit SAVANNAH RIVER BASIN WATER QUALITY PLAN March 2007 NC Department of Environment & Natural Resources Division of Water Quality Water Quality Section 1617 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1617 (919) 733-5083 ext. 577 This document was approved and endorsed by the NC Environmental Management Commission on March 8, 2007 to be used as a guide by the NC Division of Water Quality in carrying out its Water Quality Program duties and responsibilities in the Savannah River basin. This plan is the third five-year update to the Savannah River Basinwide Water Quality Plan approved by the NC Environmental Management Commission in May 1997. Table of Contents TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary.......................................................................................................................i Introduction....................................................................................................................................1 What is Basinwide Water Quality Planning?.......................................................................1 Goals of Basinwide Water Quality Planning.......................................................................1 Benefits of Basinwide Water Quality Planning...................................................................2 How You Can Get Involved ................................................................................................2 Division of Water Quality Functions and Locations ...........................................................2 Some Other Reference Materials.........................................................................................4 How to Read the Basinwide Plan.........................................................................................4 Chapter 1 Savannah River Subbasin 03-13-01 ...........................................................................7 Including: Tahlullah and Chattooga Rivers...................................................................................7 1.1 Subbasin Overview.....................................................................................................7 1.2 Use Support Assessment Summary ..........................................................................11 1.3 Status and Recommendations of Previously and Newly Impaired Waters...............12 1.4 Status and Recommendations for Waters with Noted Impacts.................................12 1.4.1 Chattooga River Including Cashiers Lake [AU# 3a1, 3a2, 3a3, and 3b]......12 1.4.2 Norton Mill Creek [AU# 3-3b].....................................................................13 1.4.3 Abes Creek [AU# 3-10-2-2-2]......................................................................14 1.5 Additional Water Quality Issues within Subbasin 03-13-01 ....................................15 1.5.1 Management Strategies for Water Quality Protection..................................15 1.5.2 Outstanding Resource Waters Special Management Strategy......................16 1.5.3 Wooly Adelgid Pesticide Use .......................................................................18 1.5.4 Septic System Concerns................................................................................18 Chapter 2 Savannah River Subbasin 03-13-02 .........................................................................21 Including: Horsepasture, Thompson, and Whitewater Rivers.....................................................21 2.1 Subbasin Overview...................................................................................................21 2.2 Use Support Assessment Summary ..........................................................................25 2.3 Status and Recommendations of Previously and Newly Impaired Waters...............26 2.4 Status and Recommendations for Waters with Noted Impacts.................................26 2.4.1 Horsepasture River [AU# 4-13-(.5)b] and Headwaters ................................26 Including: Hog Back and Little Hogback Creeks, Hogback Lake [AU# 4-13-9 and 4-13-8]...........................................................................................................26 2.4.2 Toxaway River (Lake Toxaway) [AU# 4-(1) & 4-(4)].................................28 Table of Contents 2.5 Additional Water Quality Issues within Subbasin 03-13-02 ....................................29 2.5.1 Management Strategies for Water Quality Protection..................................29 2.5.2 Septic System Concerns................................................................................30 2.5.3 Wooly Adelgid Pesticide Use .......................................................................31 Chapter 3 North Carolina Water Quality Classifications and Standards..............................33 3.1 Description of Surface Water Classifications and Standards ...................................33 3.1.1 Statewide Classifications ..............................................................................33 3.1.2 Statewide Water Quality Standards ..............................................................33 3.1.3 Reclassification of Surface Waters...............................................................37 Chapter 4 Water Quality Stressors ............................................................................................39 4.1 Stressor and Source Identification ............................................................................39 4.1.1 Introduction – Stressors ................................................................................39 4.1.2 Overview of Stressors Identified in the Savannah River Basin....................39 4.1.3 Introduction – Sources of Stressors ..............................................................40 4.1.4 Overview of Stressor Sources Identified in the Savannah River Basin........41 4.2 Aquatic Life Stressors – Habitat Degradation ..........................................................42 4.2.1 Introduction and Overview ...........................................................................42 4.2.2 Sedimentation ...............................................................................................43 4.2.3 Loss of Riparian Vegetation .........................................................................44 4.2.4 Loss of Instream Organic Microhabitats.......................................................44 4.2.5 Channelization ..............................................................................................45 4.2.6 Small Dams, Impoundments, and Water Features........................................45 4.2.7 Recommendations for Reducing Habitat Degradation .................................47 4.3 Aquatic Life Stressors – Water Quality Parameters .................................................48 4.3.1 Introduction and Overview ...........................................................................48 4.3.2 Nutrient Impacts............................................................................................49 4.3.3 Toxic Impacts................................................................................................49 4.3.4 Temperature..................................................................................................49 4.3.5 Fish Consumption Advisories and Advice Related to Mercury ...................49 4.5 Recreation Stressor – Fecal Coliform Bacteria.........................................................51 Chapter 5 Population Growth, Land Cover Changes, and Water Quality in Western North Carolina ............................................................................................................................53 5.1 Impacts of Population Growth and Land Cover Changes ........................................53 5.1.1 Rapid Urbanization.......................................................................................53 5.1.2 Population Growth and Urbanization Impacts on Aquatic Resources..........54 5.2 Key Elements of a Comprehensive Watershed Protection Strategy.........................55 5.3 Focus Areas for Managing the Impacts of Population Growth ................................56 5.3.1 Control Stormwater Runoff and Pollution....................................................56 5.3.2 Protect Headwater Streams ...........................................................................58 5.3.3 Reduce Impacts from Steep Slope Disturbance............................................59 5.3.4 Implement Effective Education Programs....................................................61 5.4 The Role of Local Governments...............................................................................62 Table of Contents 5.4.1 Reduce Impacts from Existing Urbanization................................................62 5.4.2 Reduce Impacts of Future Urbanization .......................................................64 5.5 The Role of Homeowners and Landowners..............................................................65 5.5.1 Ten Simple Steps to Reduce Runoff and Pollution from Individual Homes 65 Chapter 6 Stormwater and Wastewater Programs..................................................................67 6.1 Federal and State Stormwater Programs...................................................................67 6.1.1 NPDES Phase I .............................................................................................67 6.1.2 NPDES Phase II............................................................................................67 6.1.3 State Stormwater Programs – Sensitive Waters............................................70 6.1.4 Water Supply Watershed Stormwater Rules.................................................71 6.2 Federal and State Wastewater Programs...................................................................71 6.2.1 NPDES Wastewater Discharge Permit Summary.........................................71 6.2.2 Septic Systems and Straight Piping ..............................................................73 Chapter 7 Agriculture and Water Quality................................................................................75 7.1 Animal Operations....................................................................................................75 7.2 Impacted Streams in Agricultural Areas...................................................................76 7.3 Working Land Conservation Benefits ......................................................................76 7.4 Agricultural Best Management Practices and Funding Opportunities .....................78 7.4.1 USDA – NRCS Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP)......78 7.4.2 NC Agriculture Cost Share Program ............................................................79 Chapter 8 Forestry in the Savannah Basin................................................................................81 8.1 Forestland Ownership and Resources.......................................................................81 8.1.1 Christmas Tree Production ...........................................................................81 8.1.2 Forestry Accomplishments ...........................................................................81 8.2 Forestry Water Quality Regulations in North Carolina............................................82 8.2.1 Forest Practice Guidelines (FPG) for Water Quality....................................82 8.2.2 Other Forestry Related Water Quality Regulations ......................................82 8.2.3 Water Quality Foresters................................................................................82 8.2.4 Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs)..............................................82 8.2.5 Bridgemats....................................................................................................83 8.2.6 Protection from Wildfires .............................................................................83 Chapter 9 Water Resources........................................................................................................85 9.1 River Basin Hydrologic Units...................................................................................85 9.2 Minimum Streamflow...............................................................................................85 9.3 Interbasin Transfers (IBT)........................................................................................86 9.3.1 Local Water Supply Planning.......................................................................86 9.3.2 Registered Water Withdrawals .....................................................................87 9.4 Water Quality Issues Related to Drought .................................................................87 9.5 Source Water Assessment of Public Water Supplies................................................88 Table of Contents 9.5.1 Introduction...................................................................................................88 9.5.2 Delineation of Source Water Assessment Areas ..........................................88 9.5.3 Susceptibility Determination – North Carolina’s Overall Approach............89 9.5.4 Source Water Protection ...............................................................................90 9.5.5 Public Water Supply Susceptibility Determinations in the Savannah River Basin .............................................................................................................90 Chapter 10 Natural Resources....................................................................................................91 10.1 Ecological Significance of the Savannah River Basin..............................................91 10.2 Rare Aquatic and Wetland-Dwelling Animal Species..............................................91 10.3 Significant Natural Heritage Areas in the Savannah River Basin ............................92 10.4 Public Lands..............................................................................................................93 Chapter 11 Water Quality Initiatives ........................................................................................95 11.1 The Importance of Local Initiatives..........................................................................95 11.2 Federal Initiatives......................................................................................................96 11.2.1 Clean Water Act – Section 319 Program......................................................96 11.3 State Initiatives..........................................................................................................96 11.3.1 North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (NCEEP)......................96 11.3.2 Clean Water Management Trust Fund..........................................................98 References.....................................................................................................................................99 Table of Contents APPENDICES I Population and Growth Trends in the Savannah River Basin II Local Governments and Planning Jurisdictions in the Savannah River Basin III Land Cover in the Savannah River Basin IV DWQ Water Quality Monitoring Programs in the Savannah River Basin V Other Water Quality Data in the Savannah River Basin VI NPDES Discharges and Individual Stormwater Permits VII 303(d) Listing and Reporting Methodology VIII Savannah River Basin Nonpoint Source Program Description and Contacts IX Use Support Methodology and Use Support Ratings X Glossary of Terms and Acronyms Appendices LIST OF FIGURES Figure i Stressors Identified for Streams with Noted Impacts .............................................viii Figure ii Sources of Stressors Identified in the Savannah River Basin.................................viii Figure iii General Map of the Entire Savannah River Basin ....................................................xi Figure iv General Map of the Savannah River Basin in North Carolina.................................xii Figure 1 Basinwide Planning Schedule (2005 to 2009)...........................................................1 Figure 2 Division of Water Quality Regional Offices .............................................................5 Figure 3 Savannah Subbasin 03-13-01.....................................................................................8 Figure 4 Chattooga River ORW Area....................................................................................17 Figure 5 Savannah River Subbasin 05-07-02.........................................................................22 Figure 6 Ambient Water Temperature in the Horsepasture River .........................................27 Figure 7 ORWs and HQWs in the Savannah River Basin .....................................................36 Figure 8 Stressors Identified for Streams with Noted Impacts in the Savannah River Basin 40 Figure 9 Sources of Stressors Identified in the Savannah River Basin..................................41 Figure 10 Impervious Cover and Surface Runoff (EPA, 2003)...............................................54 Figure 11 Impervious Cover and Stream Degradation.............................................................55 Figure 12 Diagram of Headwater Streams within a Watershed Boundary..............................58 Figure 13 Significant Natural Resources in the Savannah River Basin...................................94 List of Figures LIST OF TABLES Table i Summary of Use Support Ratings by Category and Subbasin in the Savannah River Basin .........................................................................................................................iv Table 1 Basinwide Planning Schedule (2004 to 2011)...........................................................3 Table 2 Five-Year Planning Process for Development of an Individual Basinwide Plan......3 Table 3 DWQ Assessment and Use Support Ratings Summary for Monitored Waters in Subbasin 03-13-01 .....................................................................................................9 Table 4 Summary of Use Support Ratings by Category in Subbasin 03-13-01 ...................11 Table 5 Waters to which an ORW Management Strategy Applies.......................................17 Table 6 DWQ Assessment and Use Support Ratings Summary for Monitored Waters in Subbasin 05-07-02 ...................................................................................................23 Table 7 Summary of Use Support Ratings by Category in Subbasin 03-13-02 ...................25 Table 8 Bioclassifications for the Horsepasture River at NC281.........................................27 Table 9 Primary and Supplemental Surface Water Classifications ......................................34 Table 10 Major Post-Construction Stormwater Controls in SL 2006-246 .............................69 Table 11 Communities in the Savannah Subject to Stormwater and/or Water Supply Watershed Stormwater Requirements......................................................................71 Table 12 Summary of NPDES Dischargers and Permitted Flows for the Savannah Basin (April 2006).............................................................................................................72 Table 13 Septic System Survey Results of Graham, Macon and Swain County Projects: February 2003 – December 2004.............................................................................74 Table 14 Hydrologic Subdivisions in the Savannah River Basin ...........................................85 Table 15 Minimum Streamflow Projects in the Savannah River Basin .................................86 Table 16 Registered Water Withdrawals in the Savannah River Basin..................................87 Table 17 SWAP Results for Surface Water Sources in the Savannah River Basin................90 Table 18 List of Rare Aquatic and Wetland Animal Species in Savannah River Basin (April 2006)........................................................................................................................91 Table 19 Proposed Targeted Local Watersheds (TLWs) for the Savannah River Basin........97 Table 20 Projects in the Savannah River Basin Funded by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund................................................................................................................98 List of Tables Table of Contents