Sand bars litter South River. These mounds of sand and dirt occur when rain washes off disturbed land surfaces creating erosion that carries sediment into our streams and river. Sedimentation is a form of non-point source pollution. The most common impact to streams is that excess sediment washing into streams eliminates habitat for fish and other organisms. It is currently considered the number one pollutant of our creeks and river. Construction sites and other deforested land are the most common sources of sedimentation in the Upper Ocmulgee basin where South River is located. Sedimentation gives water a cloudy or muddy appearance causing bottom habitats to be covered with silt or dirt which reduces spawning sites, eliminates shelters and habitat, smothers gill-breathing organisms, and prevents fish from finding food.
Sedimentation also impacts people by reducing recreational enjoyment of South River and increasing the costs of treating drinking water and reducing property values for our downstream neighbors.
The most common sign of this form of pollution is streams and rivers running the color of red Georgia clay. Encroachment into stream buffers and failure to use and maintain best management practices at construction sites, such as incorrectly installed silt fencing, contribute greatly to sedimentation problems. The development practice of clearing large land areas at one time, commonly referred to as “mass grading” is another major contributor to sedimentation.