Forest City Courier March 6, 2004

Catheys Creek watershed study will begin

From staff reports

SPINDALE -- A study of the Cathey's Creek watershed is scheduled to begin March 8.

Professionals from the firm EarthTech will be walking along streams of the watershed to measure the severity of eroding streambanks, evaluate the types of plants and trees growing and assess the quality of habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

Work will continue through April.

Waterways in the study area include Hollands Creek, Lewis Creek, Harris Creek, Mill Creek, Cherry Creek, Reynolds Creek and Case Branch.

The project is being conducted as part of a ecosystem restoration program being conducted under the state Ecosystem Enhancement Program.

The data gathered will be used to develop non-binding recommendations for how to best restore the Cathey's Creek system. Both Cathey's Creek and Hollands Creek have been designated as impaired waterways by the state Division of Water Quality.

A total of about five miles of waterway, two miles on Cathey's Creek below where Holland Creek comes in, and three miles on Holland Creek, are specifically labeled as impaired.

Spindale's wastewater treatment plant and several textile operations had, in the past, dumped into Holland Creek. Spindale has upgraded its wastewater treatment plant and moved the discharge to Cathey's Creek in 1999. That, along with a decrease in textile operations have led to an improvement in Cathey's Creek's water quality.

Nonetheless, the watershed can use further improvement and was selected as the best site for a project in the Broad River Basin. The Basin consists of all of Rutherford and Polk Counties, most of Cleveland County and parts of Buncombe, Henderson and McDowell Counties.

The EEP program was established in 2003 as a way to provide high-quality, cost-effective projects for watershed improvements.

A committee of mostly local representatives will also meet Monday afternoon as part of the project's ongoing work.

North Carolina State University's Watershed Education for Communities and Local Officials program is helping facilitate the process.

For more information, contact Kristin Cozza at 704-572-0955.