All Hands Needed to Care for Local Streams, Rivers and Lake
The Upper Etowah River Alliance (UERA) has a whole bunch of interesting activities coming up in which you, your neighbors, friends, co-workers or club members are invited (and needed) to participate.
One of our most important events is scheduled for Sept. 9. This is the fifth annual Bacteria Day, where we send trained Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) volunteers and lay volunteers out into the watershed to collect water samples of the headwaters from Lumpkin County to Lake Allatoona. Supplies and training on how to collect a water sample will be provided. You must provide your own transportation. All samples will be plated for E. coli, and results will be reported. This event will identify areas of concern that need to be monitored more closely and fix any problems.
If you’re looking to spend some quality outdoor time with a buddy, sign up to spend a few hours as a true citizen scientist helping us take our annual snapshot of the river. We meet at the alliance at 180 McClure St. at 8:30 a.m. If science is your thing, this is right up your alley. Sign up by emailing Lori Forrester at email@example.com.
Etowah River Cleanup
The Rivers Alive Etowah River Cleanup is Oct. 14. Gather your friends, fellow club members, co-workers and neighbors and help us get the trash off the riverbanks and out of the river. We try to get to as many places as possible in the watershed that we can access safely, including creeks and streams. We supply you with gloves and trash bags, fortify you with breakfast grab-and-go goodies, and we feed you lunch when you’re done.
We start at 8:30 a.m. at the alliance, where you sign your waiver, and we give you bags, gloves and breakfast, then send you out into the watershed. At the end of the day, our partners at Cherokee County Stormwater Management collect your bags of trash, tires and whatever you find that doesn’t belong. It’s a fun day, getting dirty while doing a feel-good deed, cleaning up the Etowah. Oh, and you get a cool Rivers Alive T-shirt if you get there before we run out.
Little River Cleanup
Next up is the Oct. 21 Little River Cleanup at Old Rope Mill Park in Woodstock. Everything is the same except, for this one, we meet at the park near the pavilion at 8:30 a.m. to get your waivers signed, give you bags, gloves and breakfast goodies, then send you out into the park. You bring your trash bags back to the pavilion for pickup later by the city of Woodstock. Come get dirty while cleaning up the Little River – it’s a great opportunity for Scouts, too!
Call to Action
Adopt-A-Stream is how we monitor the water continuously in the five-county watershed that encompasses the Upper Etowah. If you live on a tributary of the Etowah and are willing to devote just an hour or two one day each month to gathering a water sample, we need you!
We train you, give you the supplies needed and meet you at the alliance lab on McClure Street to take your samples. If interested, email Lori Forrester at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Morrison, a member of the Upper Etowah River Alliance board of directors, has stepped down after 18 years of service. Robert brought expertise in finance, water management and always-needed funding sources to the alliance. He will continue as an active member but has decided that now that he’s in his mid-80s, he’s going to spend more time on Lake Allatoona, water skiing. We thank him for his steady hand as a valued board member.
We need donations to fund our mission of keeping the Upper Etowah clean and safe. Please join the alliance or donate today at EtowahRiver.org or call 706-407-1115. Every dollar helps.
Upper Etowah River Alliance
The mission of the alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been keeping an eye on the Etowah River since 1999, is to provide regional leadership, resources, consultation, education, training materials and events to protect and enhance the natural and economic resources of the watershed for present and future generations.
Covering five counties — Cherokee, Dawson, Forsyth, Lumpkin and Pickens — the UERA began as a forum for watershed stakeholders and soon developed a strong, volunteer-run program with Georgia AAS. The UERA provides training, equipment and chemicals for citizen scientists to test the river and tributaries at selected sites at regular intervals, returning the results to the state’s online AAS records. These records form an important database for environmentalists and local governments to use in water utilities planning, as well as commercial and residential developers and other businesses, including recreation outfitters. The UERA operates entirely on grants, donations and membership dues.
– Laine Kirby Wood, Canton resident and the executive director of The Upper Etowah River Alliance, is a writer, adventurer, wildlife enthusiast and grandmother to seven.