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Proposed Gola Creek Mitigation Bank, Pike County, Georgia (98 acres)

Gola Creek is an incised channel characterized by severely eroded banks and channel substrate that is dominated by sand and gravel. The property also contains five other channels that are first-order or second-order tributaries to Gola Creek. Gola Creek and its tributaries have been severely impacted by past channelization, crop production, and cattle farming operations within the adjacent floodplain. Bank erosion due to cattle hoof shear is widespread along much of these waters. Indicators of channel erosion from channelization include straight stream reaches, denuded banks and incised channels with vertical or undercut banks. Channelization operations were most likely implemented to drain the adjacent agricultural fields by lowering groundwater levels and reducing the frequency of overbank flooding. Additional impacts include a 4.5-acre farm pond that has impounded an estimated 690 linear feet of stream. Farm ponds such as this effectively serve as barriers to aquatic life and alter the stream’s natural hydrologic and sediment regimes. Approximately 12,000 feet of onsite streams are proposed for restoration, which would include removing an onsite farm pond and restoring degraded reaches along into channels containing stable dimensions, patterns, and profiles. Bank stabilization would include removing the cattle from the site to reestablish understory vegetation and stabilize eroded stream banks. Additional stream bank vegetation will be planted to enhance wildlife habitat and to provide additional stabilization to the existing disturbed soils. Approximately 10,700 feet of riparian buffer are proposed for planting native tree species. Most riparian buffers along Gola Creek are denuded of deep-rooted vegetation and consist primarily of pasture grasses and cornfields. Cattle have grazed much of the understory within the adjacent buffers along sporadic forested reaches.

Based on preliminary calculations of mitigation credits, the proposed Gola Creek Mitigation Bank has the potential to generate a total of 162,000 stream credits. These credits will be sold to Section 404 permit applicants that are required to compensate for stream impacts occurring within the Middle Chattahoochee service area. Please note that the potential credit generation is only an estimate; therefore, the actual number of credits generated by the proposed bank is likely to change.


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