The goals of the Franklin to Fontana Restoration Project are to improve water quality in three tributaries to the Little Tennessee River — Iotla Branch, Cat Creek and Rabbit Creek. These streams face threats from agriculture and development and register high fecal and bacteria counts.
The grant will help install livestock fencing and provide alternative water sources for cattle that currently drink straight from the stream. It will also help plant trees along the stream banks. An estimated 2,244 tons of topsoil, 13,467 pounds of nitrogen and 4,488 pounds of phosphorus will be saved from washing into the river. The grant will offer a cost-share arrangement that allows farmers to afford these practices.
The Southwestern N.C. Resource Conservation & Development Council applied for the grant from the N.C. Division of Water Quality on behalf of the Macon Soil and Water Conservation District, the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, the Coweeta Long-Term Ecological Research Program, the N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program, the N.C. Natural Heritage Program, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The N.C. Division of Water Quality will also provide technical assistance in addition to the grant funds.