The Restoration

Critical Issues

  1. Stormwater: Effects of stormwater runoff
  2. Wastewater: Illicit connections and sanitary sewer outfalls (SSOs); Excessive water quality pollutants; Potential groundwater contamination
  3. Ecology: Abundance of invasive species; Abundance of aquatic vegetation; Altered watershed hydrology; Altered creek geomorphology
  4. Access: Lack of recreational access to the creek
  5. Climate Adaptation: Sea Level Rise (SLR); Increased Incidents of Storm Events

Recommended Management Measures
WMP Implementation. With five Primary Goals, improving water quality, providing access to resources, protecting and improving fish and wildlife health, restoring the heritage and cultural connection between the watershed and community, and planning to prepare for climate resiliency, identified projects having the greatest potential to provide early benefits. Grouped under the challenges facing TMC, these are the first WMP-recommended projects being undertaken:

Access.  Recommendation: Build Greenways. The City of Mobile secured a $386K National Park Service Outdoor Legacy Program Grant to design and construct the first segment of a TMC bicycle/walking trail along TMC from MLK Jr. Ave to Tricentennial Park. Design includes lighting, an exercise/circuit course, and green infrastructure/stormwater management features. The Mobile County Health Department has secured additional funding from the Sybil Smith Trust to extend the trail to Fillingim Street and install a kayak launch at Tricentennial Park.

Stormwater.  Recommendations: Remove sediment (Langan Park), Construct energy dissipater on Twelve Mile Creek, and Install green infrastructure retrofits in public areas. The City of Mobile has secured a Natural Resource Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection Grant to address erosion and sedimentation upstream of the Langan Park lakes. A MBNEP proposal to restore a different segment of Twelve Mile Creek was approved for funding by the RESTORE Council in December, and funding is expected to be made available later in 2016. Restoration measures are expected to include green infrastructure measures to reduce energy and volume of stormwater runoff. Twelve Mile Creek drains a highly impervious watershed, is particularly flashy, and is considered to provide the most significant source of sediment to the lakes.

Ecology.  Recommendation: Improve management of invasive species. A MBNEP proposal to develop an invasive species control plan for the TMC Watershed was approved for funding by the RESTORE Council in December, and funding is expected to be made available later in 2016. MBNEP is developing a proposal to fund the creation of an urban Conservation Corps comprising at-risk young adults from the lower TMC watershed for a year of employment implementing measures recommended in that plan, giving them job skills that contribute to the sustainability of our coastal assets and lead to future employment opportunities in a restoration economy.  

Sea Level Rise.  Recommendation: Incorporate flood risk management and storm surge information in an educational outreach program. Auburn University has delineated watershed boundaries for Toulmins Spring Branch (TSB) and calibrated a stormwater management model (SWMM) to guide stormwater management actions in this low-lying, climate vulnerable subwatershed. MBNEP conducted an outreach program to 1) engage residents of the TSB to increase community understanding of watershed dynamics, climate change, and sea level rise, 2) assess present concerns and future fears related to climate change in this community, and 3) plan for adaptation to mitigating those concerns and fears. MBNEP supported the development of the MLK Avenue Redevelopment Corporation Leadership Academy to engage residents of Mobile’s Bottom area to provide leadership in community adaptation to environmental pressures related to climate changes.

Management Measures and Cost Estimates

Implementation Strategy
Successful implementation of the 44 management measures recommended in the WMP will require the long-term commitment of significant financial resources and community support. Many financial opportunities, primarily federal grants and cooperative agreements, are available to help restore, enhance, and reconnect TMC to its surrounding communities. In recent years, increases in watershed recovery efforts by communities around the nation have significantly increased the competition for these resources. In order to be competitive in this environment, the WMP recommends establishing a model Three Mile Creek Partnership (TMCP) representing three primary support sectors: Public (local government), Private (business & industry), Community (place based civic, non-profit). The TMCP can be created as a public-private partnership among the three entities mentioned above, or it could be established through a grassroots effort (e.g., a 501 [c][3] organization). The TMCP would be the coordinating body for all implementation activities specified in the WMP.

Monitoring and Research Studies