UGA Watersheds


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UGA has four main Watershed’s that run through it’s campus. They are Tanyard Creek, Lilly Branch, Steam Plant Stream and Lake Herrick.


Tanyard Creek:

  • This creek runs through UGA’s North Campus, under Stanford Stadium and empties into the Oconee River.

  • It’s water quality is very poor as the over 50 percent of the stream is piped.

  • The stream can be seen running alongside Bolton Dining Commons and along side the stadium.


Lily Branch:

  • Is a tributary of the North Oconee River

  • Starts in 5 points and runs through the East Campus Village, and along side the baseball stadium, Foley Field.

  • The stream can be seen near UGA’s art building, Lamar Dodd.


Steam Plant Stream:

  • The Steam Plant Stream is entirely contained within the UGA campus.

  • It is piped for most of its reach, daylighting a few hundred meters before entering the Oconee River.

  • It includes several UGA buildings and parking lots and includes the steam plant and facilities management staging areas.

Lake Herrick:

  • The Lake Herrick watershed includes the 15 acre Lake Herrick, the UGA intramural fields and the Oconee Forest Park complex.

  • Although the lake itself has been closed to swimming since 2002, the area is heavily used for recreation by the university and Athens community.


Campus History

The history of UGA’s watershed’s dates back to the early 1800’s. The town of Athens, GA was founded in 1806, and the The University of Georgia opened for classes in 1801. Athens has a long history with the creeks and rivers running through it, as the city was developed around Athens waterways. Paper and cotton companies ruled Athens economy and the materials produced by the companies were transported via train. Train tracks at the time were located along riverways, therefore the large companies built near the rivers as well. This was a time in which technology depended on nature- therefore people took care of their precious resources. As the city evolved, technology changed and the college town grew, many of the watershed’s were forced underground and into tubes that still flow under campus today. Over the years, the rivers and streams, because they are not easily seen, have been forgotten and abandoned. Water runoff into the streams is incredibly polluted with trash and chemicals from the streets, leaving the water quality poor and not safe for humans to use for recreation. This is where Watershed UGA and WaterLight steps in.