Waterway cleanup in Sugar Hill hopes to bring back trout

Despite soggy conditions, volunteers arrived early on a recent Saturday with masks, gloves and tools to help clean up Crayfish Creek in Sugar Hill. Their efforts yielded over 500 pounds of trash, removal of a 200-foot barbed wire fence and made progress in removal of invasive stilt grass.

According to organizer Danny Jackson, President of Trout Unlimited’s Oconee River Chapter, this creek, which feeds into the Chattahoochee River, is a critical spawning area for wild trout. Restoration will involve addressing extensive erosion caused by storm runoff from nearby homes and roads, eliminating invasive plants that are choking out much of the watershed’s understory, and planting native shrubs and trees that can turn the site back into a thriving ecosystem.

Crayfish Creek is at the head of a 100-mile vision known as the Chattahoochee Riverlands Project designed to reimagine the Atlanta region’s relationship with the Chattahoochee.

The vision is shared by Dr. Jay Shelton, Associate Professor in UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and Annie Couch, a hydrologist with the National Park Service. Site plans have been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and the permitting process is underway.

Details: www.chattahoocheeriverlands.com. Information: Tixie Fowler at tixie.fowler@gacd.us.