Crayfish Creek restoration makes significant progress

The grassroots effort to restore Crayfish Creek in Sugar Hill is benefiting from the many volunteers who are participating in efforts to restore the stream. In May, about 100 5th graders from White Oak Elementary School visited the creek to learn about conservation.

This summer a group of rising 11th and 12th graders from various local high schools plus rising college freshmen volunteered as interns to document the project and develop content for the project’s website: www.crayfishcreek.org and for use by the University of Georgia and Georgia State Aquatics Connectivity Team: www.fws.gov/partner/georgia-aquatic-connectivity-team.

These same interns have learned how to do basic water quality testing with the Gwinnett Water Department Outreach team, as well as conduct habitat assessments.

Crayfish Creek has been heavily impacted by stormwater runoff from nearby development, degrading water management infrastructure and pressure from water regularly released through Buford Dam. The project is already becoming a model for future stream restorations.

In addition to increased pollinators like bees and butterflies, native wild brown trout are spawning and the Chattahoochee crayfish are multiplying.

Next up, the group is applying for a $5,000 HDR Foundation grant to purchase more native plants and rocks for additional habitat. Tixie Fowler, environmental educator with Gwinnett County Soil and Water Conservation District, and one of the project leaders, has her eye on additional grant opportunities as well.