USGS - science for a changing world

South Atlantic Water Science Center

Map of North Carolina highlighting the project study area

Project Overview

Full Title
Sediment Collection Surry County

 Surry County, NC

Cooperating Agencies
NC Division of Soil and Water Conservation (DSWC)

Project Chief
Doug Smith

Period of Project
2004 to current year

Team Members
Tom Cuffney
Gloria Ferrell
Douglas Harned

Sediment Collection Surry County

This project was completed in 2012. These pages are for historical purposes only.


Stream restoration, Paul's Creek

Channel restoration activities at Pauls Creek, Surry County, North Carolina.

The effects of agricultural best management practices and in-stream restoration on sediment concentrations, stream habitat, and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages were evaluated at three small, rural stream basins in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge Physiographic Provinces of North Carolina and Virginia. Various agricultural practices such as uncontrolled access of livestock to streams can contribute to increased erosion and stream bank instability which, in turn, can contribute to increased sediment loading and degradation of stream habitat and ecological health. Agricultural best management practices generally are less costly than in-stream restoration techniques. Relative changes in water quality, stream habitat characteristics, and benthic invertebrate assemblages associated with these types of stream improvement are not well documented.

This study was designed to compare the effects of agricultural best management practices and in-stream restoration on stream quality by assessing changes before and after implementation of stream improvements relative to changes observed at a similar control site. A study site was selected in each of three rural stream basins. Several agricultural best management practices, primarily designed to limit access of cattle to streams, were implemented during this investigation in one of the basins, the Bull Creek basin. Stream-channel reconfiguration and stream-bank stabilization in addition to implementation of agricultural best management practices were performed in a second basin, the Pauls Creek basin. A third basin, the Hogan Creek basin, in which no stream improvement activities were planned during the data-collection period, was used as a control basin.