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Reducing Sediment in Stroubles Creek, Blacksburg, VA
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Upstream urbanization, stream channelization, and livestock access have resulted in significant sediment loading to Stroubles Creek, resulting in a benthic macroinvertebrate community impairment. Developed in 2006, the Stroubles Creek TMDL Implementation Plan identified the need for additional agricultural, stream channel, and stormwater management best management practices (BMPs) to address the aquatic life impairment in Stroubles Creek. Numerous groups have installed BMPs throughout the watershed over the years; however, sediment is still a major issue. We assembled the Stroubles Creek Improvement Partnership (SCIP) to continue reducing sediment loading to Stroubles Creek, which includes the Virginia Tech (VT) Biological Systems Engineering department (BSE), VT Office of Site & Infrastructure Development (SID), the Town of Blacksburg, and the Stroubles Creek Restoration Initiative (SCRI). We implemented the following BMPs as part of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) grant #15946: Agricultural: One stream exclusion fencing with grazing land management, which included 1200 feet of fencing, one livestock watering system, and 4.5‐ac of riparian buffer plantings (485 hardwood trees and shrubs); Stream Channel: Two riparian buffer plantings; one with 65 container trees and shrubs planted along Holtan Branch in an apartment complex, and one 900 feet long with 440 hardwood trees within a 3‐ac riparian zone; and Stormwater Management: Three bioretention cells treating runoff from two roofs and one parking lot at an apartment complex. We developed education and outreach programming that included a InfoGraphic about Stroubles Creek for the general public, a high school science module about Stroubles Creek and the importance of stream in general, an online self‐guided tour of stormwater management and other important features within the Stroubles Creek watershed, and a SCIP website. Additionally, we created educational signage for the installed BMPs and worked with several student groups to add sections of Stroubles Creek to the VDCR Adopt‐A‐Stream program.