The Stekoa Creek Project

The Stekoa Creek Project

Confluence of Stekoa Creek into the Chattooga River. Photo courtesy of the Chattooga Conservancy

Monitoring stream health and making the case for clean-up

The Rabun Chapter of Trout Unlimited partnered with the Chattooga Conservancy to monitor the fecal coliform in Stekoa Creek, which has been listed on the State of Georgia’s impaired waterways list for more than a decade because it does not support its designated uses as a primary trout stream and recreational resource.

Stekoa Creek is a major polluted tributary that runs through the town of Clayton, Georgia, and then into the National Wild and Scenic Chattooga River. Weakened sewer lines in Clayton often break and release raw sewage into what could be an excellent trout stream. Persistent lack of corrective actions by state and local authorities to address excessive fecal coliform and sediment levels has been responsible for the continued deterioration of the stream for over 30 years. The weekly water sampling at numerous sites test the creek for its fecal coliform and turbidity levels. This information helps the Chattooga Conservancy support its multi-level efforts to clean up Stekoa Creek and remove it from the list of impaired waters. The overall goal is to restore the water quality of Stekoa Creek to its designated uses as a primary trout stream and recreation resource, and to restore the National Wild & Scenic Chattooga River downstream of the Stekoa Creek confluence to the water quality standards that have been set for swimming and associated water contact sports.

Members of Rabun TU hauled grocery carts, tires, and a trailer full of more junk out of Stekoa Creek in Clayton, Georgia, on June 26, 2010.

For 28 months, 20 members of Rabun TU volunteered their time and vehicle expenses to drive the weekly Stekoa Creek monitoring water samples to the certified lab in Jefferson, GA (132 mile round trip).

The samples were collected weekly by trained employees of the Chattooga Conservancy and transferred (by a chain-of-custody procedure) to a TU volunteer.

Stekoa Creek Project Contract and Work Plan (.pdf)

Stekoa Creek Water Sample Fecal Count Report (in Clayton, Georgia) (excel)

Stekoa Creek Water Sample Fecal Count Report (at the Chattooga River) (excel)

A BIG “Thank You” to the Rabun TU “Driving for Trout” team of volunteers:

Doug Adams, Eedee Adams, Travis Barnes, Charlie Breithaupt, Kathy Breithaupt, Gary Deal, Ray Gentry, Russell Johnson, Ray Kearns, Bill Kelly, June Landreth, Tom Landreth, Doug Mansfield, Tom Matthews, Tim McClure, Lea Richmond, Terry Rivers, Fritz Vinson, Larry Walker and Jimmy Whiten.

National TU values donated time at $18.04/hour and donated traveled @ $0.485/mile. Therefore each “Driving for Trout” trip was valued as a donation of $118. The total value of “Driving for Trout” donated by the 20 volunteer members of Rabun TU is $13,334.

Financial supporters include Rabun TU Chapter, National TU Embrace-A-Stream grants, GA TU Council, Atlanta Fly Fishing School, Oconee River TU Chapter, GA Foothills TU Chapter, Cohutta TU Chapter & Upper Chattahoocee TU Chapter

Trout Unlimited Funds Committed to the Stekoa Creek Monitoring Project – $31,059 Total

Rabunites Clean Stekoa Creek in Clayton, June 2011

The Rabun Chapter of Trout Unlimited conducted its second annual clean up of a section of Stekoa Creek. This time, 13 members partnered with representatives of the Chattooga Conservancy, Troop 6 of the Clayton Boy Scouts and several like minded and concerned citizens that responded to the clean up notice posted in the Rabun Town Crier.

Volunteers filled a 5X10 ft. trailer containing several large trash bags of debris, a construction barrier, 3 car tires, and a variety of metals and plastics. In about three hours, all of this was collected on about a one mile stretch of the Stekoa Creek, which parallels Hwy 441, as it flows through the city of Clayton, Ga. The project area was from the newly established Stekoa Creek Park next to the Georgia Mountain Market parking lot, down to the bridge that crosses over it, just below McDonalds.

Thank you to all who participated in this event. Also, to all the private and business property owners who supported us by granting their access to the creek. Special thanks to Charlie and Kathy Breithaupt and Gail Tolbert for their efforts.

View photos of the day in the work projects gallery.

Prez Tammy Wins Mack Martin Rod Sweepstakes

Chapter Prez Tammy Hopton held the winning ticket at the Chapter’s annual July 11 family picnic that she won the raffle for Mack Martin’s custom-built Winston 3-weight fly rod! The rod raffle brought in more than $1,800 to support our programs. That’s a new record. We can’t thank Mack enough for his generosity in crafting and donating such a beautiful trout tickler to our Chapter.

More details here.

Fellowship and Fly Fishing

Is coming back! This program in which members would fish a local stream together was put on pause during COVID,  but Rabunite Mike Fuller is resurrecting it.  Read more!



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