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Water Quality and Fecal-Indicator Detection in Response to an Impaired Urban Watershed: Turkey Creek "Gulf of Mexico Initiative Focus"; and a "Making a Visible Difference" Program
Friedman, S., G. Boos, L. Butler, K. Houghton, D. Beddick, T. Boone, AND T. Pierce. Water Quality and Fecal-Indicator Detection in Response to an Impaired Urban Watershed: Turkey Creek "Gulf of Mexico Initiative Focus"; and a "Making a Visible Difference" Program. Water Microbiology Conference, Chapel Hill, NC, May 17 - 19, 2016.
The Turkey Creek watershed is on Administrator McCarthy’s “Making a Visible Difference” priority list, involving the Gulf of Mexico Initiative Program and GED. In addition, Citizens’ Science participants are routinely monitoring the watershed for fecal-indicators. Data will be provided to Region 4 and monitoring data is shared with the local Turkey Creek Steering Committee to support decisions and target environmentally-feasible solutions. The audience is the local Turkey Creek community, Turkey Creek steering groups and their officials, and Region 4
The historical communities of Turkey Creek originated in 1866, when a group of emancipated African-Americans purchased land in Harrison County, MS, along the Turkey Creek watershed. Many of the current members of this community are descendants from the original settlers. This watershed provided a way-of-life for the settlers and for the present-day communities including fishing, recreation and community baptisms. What was once a forested and riparian floodplain has been dramatically altered as the influx of commercial development, an international airport and surfaced roadways merged the Turkey Creek community into the city of Gulfport, MS. EPA is focused on lending support to local communities that are environmentally overburdened, underserved, and economically distressed as part of the Agency’s “Making a Visible Difference” program. The Turkey Creek watershed is listed as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) impaired water body for fecal coliforms on the Mississippi 1998 Section 303(d) list and in the January TMDL 2015 report and has become a high-priority watershed on the “Making a Visible Difference” (MVD) program for the Agency. In response to their needs, EPA will help the community align environmental concerns with economic priorities, including community involvement, community organizations, and connecting the community to local officials. The Gulf of Mexico Initiative Program initiated a Citizens’ Science partnership to increase water-quality monitoring and community participation within the Turkey Creek watershed. Students from a near-by middle school, along with their EPA partners, are collecting water samples at various previously-determined impaired stations along the watershed and using the IDEXX method to quantify the E. coli levels on a weekly basis. Stations with higher levels of E. coli will be studied more in-depth to evaluate source of the fecal contamination. The monitoring data collected by the students and EPA staff are regularly presented to the Turkey Creek Steering Committee and in the future, the source-tracking results should provide additional leverage to support decisions and target environmentally-feasible solutions. This presentation will show-case the Citizens’ Science project along with the environmental data.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION