Shoal Creek Watershed Action Plan Receives EPA Acceptance!
July 9, 2021 | By Shoal Creek Conservancy
A New Milestone in Restoring the Creek We Love
The Shoal Creek Watershed Action Plan Receives U.S. EPA Acceptance!
It’s simple: people are drawn to water. We see it every day along Shoal Creek. Families pack up picnic baskets for an afternoon on the banks of the creek. Hikers move off the trail to walk just a little closer to the water.
We believe that Shoal Creek should be clean enough for people to fish, swim, and play safely in its waters – and so does the community that came together to create the Shoal Creek Watershed Action Plan. The Watershed Action Plan is a community-guided plan to restore a fishable, swimmable creek. It represents the hard work of community stakeholders and environmental professionals who collaborated during 2017-2020 to share their knowledge of Shoal Creek and define a path to a clean, healthy waterway.
Last month, the Plan reached a new milestone when it received acceptance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency! This means that the Plan is now eligible for federal funding to realize its proposed solutions, including expanding green stormwater infrastructure, installing pet waste stations, and restoring creekside habitat.
The fact is, the path to restoring the creek begins far beyond its banks. The Shoal Creek watershed is the geographic area where all water drains to Shoal Creek. So, the landscape throughout the entire watershed is the driving force behind the health of the creek itself. Conditions throughout the watershed affect things like whether water flows into the creek or is absorbed into the ground; or how polluted runoff is by the time it reaches the creek. This means in order to restore the creek, we must address the landscape throughout the 8,300 acre watershed that drains to the 11-mile Shoal Creek and its 30+ miles of streams. At the root of Shoal Creek’s water quality safety issues is nonpoint source pollution, which occurs when runoff carries pollutants over the ground and deposits them into a waterway.
In celebration of this achievement, we want to thank our hard working stakeholders and project partners and extend an invitation to the community to help us kick off implementation of the Shoal Creek Watershed Action Plan.
Major project partners include the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department, the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, and engineering firm Doucet & Associates. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Nonpoint Source Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency served as major funders through the Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant program. Generous matching funding was provided by the Still Water Foundation, the Jacob and Therese Hershey Foundation, the Reese Foundation, the Shield-Ayres Foundation, and the Powell Foundation.
- If you live near Shoal Creek, check out our Creekside Neighbors program to learn how you can steward your property to improve the health of Shoal Creek. Small changes in landscaping and pet waste disposal can make a big difference! SCC can also help you organize a creek clean up event.
- Share the SCC Watershed Coordinator job description! The Watershed Coordinator will work with the community on implementing green infrastructure and conducting ecological restoration. Applications accepted through July 25, 2021.
- Sign up for a volunteer service day to clean the Creek and help steward the watershed’s public lands.