mainstem of the Coosa
is listed as water quality impaired for its entirety from the border between Alabama and Georgia downstream to
Jordan Dam. Problems with nutrient pollution and low dissolved oxygen are
exacerbated by the presence and operations of hydropower dams. Toxins like
PCBs and mercury are also problems. Fish consumption advisories for PCBs
have been issued for considerable portions of the Coosa River.
tributaries are listed as failing to meet water quality standards: Black
Creek, Buxahatchee Creek, Choccolocco Creek, Little Wills Creek, and unnamed
tributary to Dry Branch and unnamed tributary to Hurricane Creek. (this list
is only current through 1998).
Rapid growth in the
metropolitan Atlanta area and north Georgia since 1950 has caused large
increases in water demands. As a result, the state of Georgia has requested
the reallocation of water in the Coosa
basin to meet these demands. In the interests of maintaining adequate water
supplies for the Alabama
portions of the Coosa, Alabama filed litigation challenging this
reallocation of the Coosa’s shared resources. To resolve this conflict
outside of the legal system the two states have entered into negotiations on
a water compact for the Alabama,
Coosa, and Tallapoosa
river basin. An identical process is taking place for the shared resources
of the Appalachicola, Chattahoochee, Flint between the states of Georgia,
Alabama and Florida. These compacts will determine the fate of these water
resources for the next 50 years. (Corps)
The health of aquatic ecosystems is linked to
the health of terrestrial ecosystems.
IMPAIRED STREAMS / SECTIONS
lists 121 miles of streams in the Coosa
basin as partially supporting their designated uses and 371 miles as not
supporting their uses. Urban runoff and high PCB concentrations in fish are
the most commonly cited problems.
Alabama lists 39 miles of streams in the Coosa
basin that either do not support or only partially support their designated
uses. Gravel mining, feedlots, cropland erosion, and hydroelectric power
production are sources for organic enrichment and low DO concentrations in
the basin. The Coosa river is
generally more enriched in nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) than the Tallapoosa.
Neely Henry, Logan Martin, Lay Lake, and Lake Mitchell
either do not support or only partially support their designated uses.
Priority organics, nutrients, pH, organic enrichment, DO, and flow
alteration are listed as some of the causes for the impairment. Sources of
these impairments range from flow regulation to industrial discharges to
urban and rural nonpoint source pollution. (EPA)
had an advisory for dioxin being released from a paper mill in 1990. This
advisory was lifted in 1991. (EPA website)
Five of the six Coosa reservoirs are considered degrading by the Alabama
Department of Environmental Management.
Recently state officials have initiated the establishment of nutrient
criteria for many of Alabama’s lakes. It is hoped that by monitoring and
permitting for excess nutrients, the eutrophication of Alabama’s lakes can
has fish consumption advisories for 8 locations, according to the Alabama
Department of Health’s 2001 bulletin.
in Calhoun and Talladega counties, is the only tributary stream with an
advisory and includes the entire length of the Creek from south of Oxford,
downstream to where Choccolocco Creek flows into Logan Martin
Lake. The advisory is for no consumption of all species due to the
presence of PCBs.
Weiss Dam upstream to the GA state line (including Weiss Lake), there
is a limited consumption of catfish over one pound due to PCBs.
Limited consumption is defined as no consumption for women of reproductive
age and children under 15, and no more than one meal per month for others.
the Croft Ferry area of Neely Henry Lake there is a no consumption
advisory for channel catfish due to PCBs.
Between Logan Martin Dam and Lay Dam (including Lay
in a no consumption advisory for Striped and Spotted Bass, Crappie,
and Blue Catfish due to PCBs.
miles downstream of Logan Martin Dam and one half mile downstream of the
mouth of Kelly
the Upper Lay Lake has a limited consumption advisory for
Spotted Bass due to PCBs.