Watershed improvement planning Gwinnett County, Georgia
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Developing Watershed Improvement Plans (WIPs) to improve conditions in streams and watersheds has been a challenging activity. The goal has been to create an objective, quantifiable, defensible, performance based system that would be applicable to all watersheds and conditions. Issues encountered along the way have included: data collection and defining the scope and extent of stream walks, selecting sound, defensible project evaluation criteria and procedures, identifying the source of Total Suspended Solids (TSS), and developing a reliable water quality / total suspended solids (TSS) model to evaluate existing condition and impacts of project implementation. The evaluation process required determining project benefits for stream restoration and upland best management practices (BMPs) based on water quality and habitat improvements. Potential projects are required to be evaluated and prioritized based on watershed benefits and then screened with regard to implementation issues and factors such as ownership, service requests, and permitting. An objective has been to develop an interactive, "live" WIP that can be easily updated as projects are implemented and evolve with new data, technology, regulatory issues and requirements, and other programs.