Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced that work has begun through the Tennessee Stream Mitigation Program to restore the lower 5,000 feet of Chilogate Creek near the Foothills Parkway and the confluence with Chilhowee Lake. The restoration work will return the stream to its original meandering path which will both enhance riparian wetland habitat as well as reducing the risk of undercutting by the current stream alignment along Happy Valley Road and the Ft. Loudon Utility lines.
“We are excited to have this opportunity to restore Chilogate Creek and the associated wetlands,” said Jeff Troutman, Chief of Resource Management and Science. “Restored streambanks and wetland vegetation will help create a buffer that better filters sediments and improves water quality.”
The project will restore the original stream meander in the lower reaches and repair damaged streambanks on the upper reaches. Wetland communities, rare in the park, will be enhanced through this project providing improved habitat for a variety of species as well as improving water quality. The area includes critical wetland habitat for a state listed plant, Tennessee pondweed (Potamogeton tennesseensis), which is found near Chilogate Creek's confluence with Chilowee Lake. The work will also include removing the invasive, non-native Brazilian water milfoil.
The restoration project should be completed by April 2015. For more information about park wetlands, click here.