Hocking River Watershed

Hocking River watershedThe Hocking River watershed, including Sunday and Monday creeks, is located in southeastern Ohio.  It drains a total of 1,196 square miles and flows through all or part of seven counties.  Major municipalities partially or fully in the watershed include Lancaster, Logan, Nelsonville and Athens.

The northern portion of the watershed is predominantly comprised of cultivated crops.  The southern portion of the watershed is predominantly comprised of forest, with some hay and pasture lands and pockets of urban development.

 

 

 

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Hocking River Watershed

Hocking River watershedThe Hocking River is over 102 miles long and drains 1,197 square miles from central Ohio to the Ohio River.  Land use in the watershed is predominantly forest (62%), with most agricultural lands (27% overall) concentrated in the flatter upper watershed.  About 10% of the watershed is developed or urban land.










Monitoring

Ohio EPA conducted a comprehensive physical, chemical and biological survey of the Hocking River watershed in 2003 and 2004, and several problems were identified.  Primary causes of impairment are nutrients, sediment, organic enrichment, poor habitat quality.  Sources are run-off from agricultural landscapes and urban areas, wastewater treatment plants, channel modification, failing septic systems and acid mine drainage.

 

TMDL Report

The Hocking River Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on September 25, 2009.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

The TMDL project area encompasses the entire Hocking River watershed with the exception of the Monday and Sunday Creek watersheds, for which TMDLs were approved in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

TMDLs are calculated for total phosphorus, fecal coliform bacteria, habitat and sedimentation.  TMDL recommendations include:

  • Include phosphorus effluent limits of 1.6 mg/l in permits issued to wastewater treatment plants
  • Reduce home sewage treatment system failures
  • Improve manure management at livestock operations
  • Manage storm water quantity and quality in suburban areas
  • Improve erosion and sediment control in all areas

Final TMDL Report without appendices

Supplemental Information

Implementation

The following implementation projects have been completed in the watershed.


Monday Creek Watershed

Monday Creek watershedMonday Creek is located in the Appalachian Coal region in southern Ohio near Athens.  Monday Creek is a tributary to the Hocking River, which flows directly into the Ohio River.  The total drainage area of the Monday Creek watershed is 116 square miles, occupying parts of Athens, Hocking, and Perry Counties in southeastern Ohio.  Approximately 77% of streams assessed by Ohio EPA during the 2001 biological and water quality surveys were found to be impaired due to acid mine drainage (AMD).








Monitoring

Problems identified in the Monday Creek watershed include impacts from past coal mining activities on 235 acres of aquatic ecosystem.  Historical underground mining practices have resulted in a generation of acid mine drainage and subsidence impacts that have adversely affected the flora and fauna of the watershed.  The report identifies sources of acid mine drainage and locations of subsided areas and recommends alternatives to restore the aquatic ecosystem.

TMDL Report

The Hocking River Basin, Ohio, Monday Creek Sub-basin Ecosystem Restoration Project Feasibility Report and Draft Environmental Assessment was approved by U.S. EPA on September 22, 2005, as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

This multi-agency effort, led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Huntington District (U.S. ACE) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and including the direct involvement of the local watershed group, culminated in a document that satisfies multiple program requirements and prioritizes Monday Creek for implementation funding from a variety of sources.  This effort is an excellent example of how state and federal agencies can cooperate with local interests in efforts to clean up areas biologically impaired from abandoned mines.

On the same day that U.S. EPA approved the report as a TMDL, the Monday Creek report was unanimously approved by the Army Corp of Engineers Civil Works Review Board in Washington DC.  Subsequent to the completion of this major milestone it is anticipated that the project will be included in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2005, which could ultimately lead to approximately 20 million dollars in state and federal funding for the project, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Participants in this study include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Forest Service, Ohio University, West Virginia University, Ohio University’s Institute for Local Government Administration and Rural Development, Rural Action of Southern Ohio, U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining, and the Monday Creek Restoration Project.

The Hocking River Basin, Ohio, Monday Creek Sub-basin Ecosystem Restoration Project Feasibility Report and Draft Environmental Assessment can be downloaded here.

Supplemental Information

There is no supplemental information available at this time.

Implementation

There is no implementation information available at this time.

Sunday Creek Watershed

Sunday Creek watershedSunday Creek is a tributary to the Hocking River, which flows into the Ohio River.  The total drainage area of the Sunday Creek watershed is 138 square miles and it occupies parts of Athens, Perry and Morgan Counties in southeastern Ohio.  The East Fork of Sunday Creek has been dammed to produce Burr Oak Lake, which is situated within Burr Oak State Park.  This watershed lies within the coal bearing portion of the Western Allegheny Plateau ecoregion and is primarily covered in forest (78% of total area).  The topography is dominated by steep narrow valleys and narrow ridges.  Much of the northwest portion of the watershed has been mined for coal using both underground and surface mining methods.  In this region, coal waste is scattered, and soil and other spoil has often been heaped and mounded.  Sinkholes located in the valleys send streams through underground mines.  These streams later emerge from below ground as acid mine drainage, which is polluted with high metal concentrations and acidity.  The Village of Trimble has the only municipal point source discharge (sewage treatment, NPDES permitted) in the watershed.


Monitoring

To provide data for the TMDL and to assist other watershed restoration efforts in the Sunday Creek basin, Ohio EPA conducted a watershed study in 2001 and 2002.  The study found impairments to Aquatic Life and Recreation uses.  The primary causes of these use impairments are pH (acidity), poor habitat quality, and bacteria.  The source of low pH is acid mine drainage (AMD), a toxic combination of acidity, iron, aluminum and other metals produced when high sulfur coal is exposed to water and oxygen.  There are numerous sources for the habitat degradation found in this basin.  The most significant sources of bacteria are cattle that have direct access to streams as well as home sewage.  TMDLs were developed for pH, bacteria, and habitat (sediment).

TMDL Report

The Sunday Creek Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on March 31, 2006.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

The impairment in this watershed that results from AMD will be addressed by implementing prescriptions found in the Acid Mine Drainage Abatement and Treatment (AMDAT) plan that was produced by the Sunday Creek Watershed Group.  The watershed action plan, which was also produced by the Sunday Creek Watershed Group, will be instrumental in providing implementation action items that address bacteria and habitat issues.  Currently, impairments related to bacteria are to be mitigated primarily by improving home sewage treatment.

Supplemental Information

Implementation

There is no implementation information available at this time.