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College Creek Alliance

The College Creek watershed is a 13.7 square-mile basin in southeastern Virginia that drains to the historic James River and eventually into Chesapeake Bay.  Land use in the watershed includes agriculture, golf courses, businesses, light industry, housing developments, and second-growth forest. The watershed is home to a vineyard, an airport, a brewery, a town dump, golf courses, land holdings of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and William & Mary.

The College Creek Alliance grew out of an interdisciplinary study of the watershed by a group of faculty at  William & Mary and undergraduate students from around the country.  As part of our studies begun in summer 2003, we came to realize that no local or state organizations were conducting surveys of water quality in local streams, ponds and tidal creeks.  To fill this information gap, we initiated quarterly sampling for water quality in Fall 2004.  This work is being Funded by Virginia Environmental Endowment.

Water quality surveys, however, are just one part of our vision for CCA. We plan to use water quality surveys as "dashboards" to document the ongoing health of our aquatic resources and to identify sections of the watershed where water quality is impaired. By encouraging involvement of community members in the collection and analysis of water samples, we hope we can foster local ownership and responsibility for shared natural resources like water and surrounding lands. We also plan to enhance local knowledge of the College Creek watershed by making presentations to middle school and high school students. Finally, we hope to work with representatives of Williamsburg and James City County planning groups and influence decisions regarding the fate of our natural resources in the College Creek watershed.