Pepperell Branch Watershed Project in Opelika Underway
The Pepperell Branch Watershed spans the city of Opelika.
Storm water runoff here contains high levels of pollution and does not meet state standards.
“It was a compact urbanized area with industrial, residential and commercial in it. It’s always had water quality tell tell signs,” said John Harris, City of Opelika Storm Water Coordinator.
Alabama Cooperative Extension Water Program secured a grant to figure out how to change that.
Pepperell Branch Creek flows through Opelika, so city officials and a core committee of 20 citizens who live and work near the watershed got involved, too.
The first leg of the project is to educate the public on how their day to day actions are affecting the streams.
Remember, everything that goes through the storms drains directly impacts this watershed.
“I think some of the big things this project will do is make the connection on how some of things that happen on our land and making a connection on how to make that into our waterway,” said Nikki Dictson, Watershed Coordinator.
That includes picking up pet waste, using safe fertilizer for your lawn, picking up your trash, and other tasks to keep the creeks clean.
“We are looking and studying its infrastructure problems, land use, we have construction issues and trash issues, it’s a whole spectrum impacted water shed so everyone is alert to the issues now we have to hone in on what those are,” said Harris.
After promoting awareness and education, the group will then implement solutions to help the watershed meet Alabama state water quality standards.