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Watershed Assessment and Analysis courses under the direction of Dr. Mark Patterson and Dr. Nancy Hoalst Pullen from Kennesaw State University (KSU) monitored the health of two streams located within the Upper Chattahoochee Watershed. The two watersheds that were the focus of this directed study were Marsh Creek and Long Island Creek. Both of the aforementioned watersheds are part of the greater Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan statistical area and are formally part of the city of Sandy Springs. The coursework presented herein was conducted during May and June of 2013 the culmination of which marks the third annual year the Watershed Assessment and Analysis course has been conducted. The content included in this wiki is part of a continuing maturation of the work between the Geography and Anthropology Department of KSU and the members of the greater Atlanta community,

Goals and Objectives

The overarching objective of this directed study was to monitor the overall health of the watersheds and provided a broad picture of the current state of the watersheds and their associated streams. Marsh Creek and Long Island Creek watersheds, located in the greater Atlanta, Georgia Metro Area provide a unique opportunity to monitor the impact of urbanization on a watershed. To determine the creeks' health, KSU students monitored physical, chemical, and biological parameters of each stream. In accordance with the guidelines established by the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (AAS). Every student as part of the 2013 Watershed Analysis courses received QA/QC certifications for both Chemical and Biological testing practices. Student field work included the weekly collection and testing of water samples at each monitoring site to determine the chemical, biological and physical make-up of the study area including: pH levels, dissolved oxygen levels, nitrogen-nitrate and phosphate levels. Physical testing included the collection of data as it related to air and water temperature, relative humidity, as well as the conductivity of the stream. Each location was comprised of two sites; A and B; which each individual site being subject to three sample collections over the duration of the course. In total twelve collections were made per student group, three for sites A & B on Marsh Creek and three for sites A & B on Long Island Creek. In addition to the comprehensive weekly monitoring, students also assessed the urban ecology of the riparian zones surrounding the monitoring sites. In continuing with ongoing look into the land-use within the watersheds, remote sensing maps were also created by students to determine the land use trends at six points during the previous decade. All of the work outlined above represents a snapshot into the life of the focal watersheds and it is the hope that the course and results can provide a greater awareness into waterways we live with and use as part of our daily lives.


Marsh Creek

The Marsh Creek watershed is located within the city limits of Sandy Springs, Georgia and consists of approximately 5.78 square miles of land. The Marsh Creek area generic land use could be classified as a suburban or "bedroom" community and is to the North of the interstate that encircles downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Marsh Creek is a tributary of the Chattahoochee River and its confluence with the river is located near the intersection of Riverside Drive and Johnson Ferry Road. The map below shows the location of the six sites monitored on Marsh Creek. Site 1 is located on the headwaters of the creek with site 6 being located downstream the mouth of the stream. Each numerated study site included two sampling sites ; the first being roughly the location on the map below and an additional site roughly 200-400ft upstream as accessibly dictated

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Long Island Creek

Long Island Creek Watershed is also located within the city limits of Sandy Springs and is directly to the south of the Marsh Creek watershed. Long Island creek is located mainly within the ring interstate surrounding Atlanta ; a relevant urban geographic distinction when compared to Marsh Creek. The land use of the watershed features very dense, mixed use urban development near the I-285 , Roswell Road exit and continuing down the Roswell Road corridor. The remaining area of Long Island Creek flows through some of the areas most affluent real-estate in the area. Long Island Creek covers and area of approximately 7.56 square miles and is also a tributary of the Chattahoochee River. The creek enters the river roughly two miles south of I-285 and approximately 0.5 miles to the east of I-75. The map below shows the locations of the six sites on Long Island Creek. Site 1 is located at the headwaters of the stream and site 6 is located downstream at the confluence with the Chattahoochee River within Whitewater Creek : Chattahoochee National Recreation Area. Each site on Long Island Creek also contained two monitoring sites. The sites were located in similar convention to the Marsh Creek sites above whereby the second site could be found roughly 300ft upstream from the inital site located on the map below.


Previous Studies

The 2013 assessment and analysis represents the third annual directed study course under the directions of Dr.'s Nancy Hoalst Pullen and Mark Patterson along with continued support from the Watershed Alliance of Sandy Springs. The inception of the course can be trace back to an original research project done in 2001 by then student Matthew Harper under the direction of Dr. Patterson. Mr. Harpers' original study was on a much smaller scale and thus had far less data nevertheless it was that ambitious project that gave birth to all subsequent involvement between KSU and the Watershed Alliance of Sandy Springs.

Beginning in 2011 KSU has conducted and annual Watershed Analysis and Assessment course where students conduct comprehensive analysis of watersheds. Testing monitors the chemical, biological and physical characteristics to ascertain the stream health at that given point in time. All students participating in the Watershed course are subject to certification the testing guidelines as established by the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream organization and adhere to the highest level of academic integrity as established by Kennesaw State University. Since the creation of the Watershed course , sites along Long Island Creek have been part of the test area, with Marsh Creek Sites being added in 2012.

The course has always been singularly focused on providing information on the watersheds of Sandy Springs the way and content of the data has varied some from year to year do to constraints and challenges common to field work. In 2011 and 2012, for example , a fish study was conducted. 2013 was not able to conduct a fish study but was able to add an additional test location on Marsh Creek.

Previous Results




Introduction | Stakeholders | Land Use Maps | Methods | Study Sites | Results | Conclusions | Restoration