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Archive for January, 2013

Tallapoosa Canoe trail coming together

by Amy K. Lavender/The Tallapoosa Journal

TallapoosariverA project that has been in the works for two years may finally be coming to fruition, says Tallapoosa Planning Coordinator Patrick Clarey, as the city of Tallapoosa is nearing the end of the requirements it must meet to get the Dub Denman Canoe Trail officially up and running.

According to Clarey, the city has been moving forward with the Georgian Department and Natural Resources on two of the original five proposed sites that would be loading and unloading zones for kayaks and canoes.

Five sites along the Tallapoosa River were originally being considered for trail access points, including two on county property. The other three sites are on private property that will require the landowners’ permission before development.

Starting at the northernmost site in Tallapoosa, the sites include locations just east of U.S. Highway 27 on Garner Road; on East Poplar Springs Road near the old steel bridge; on Georgia Highway 100 near the Haralson County Water Authority Treatment Plant; at the bridge crossing on Broad Street; and Liner Road’s rail road trestle, just west of U.S. Highway 78.

Several months ago, the city applied for their variance that will allow them to disturb the creek bed to build access ramps at two of the proposed locations: the ones at Broad Street and Poplar Springs Road. After getting approval, the city was required to run an advertisement and allow for public comment for 30 days.

“We notified the EPD (Environmental Protection Division) in Atlanta that we’ve completed that, so we’re just waiting on confirmation,” Clarey said.

Clarey is coordinating the implementation of the canoe trail. The project was originally researched by Clarey after Haralson County resident and river enthusiast Dub Denman suggested it to the Tallapoosa City Council. Since then, the council and the Haralson County Board of Commissioners have expressed their support and a grant of $51,150 has been awarded to the county by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to pay for the trail’s access points. The access points are expected to include concrete staircases and wooden canoe launches where needed, as well as gravel parking lots, trash receptacles and signage.

Now, Clarey says several officials and volunteers may soon reap the fruit of their labor as they are only waiting to get the go ahead from DNR and for the river level to drop before beginning construction on the Broad Street and Poplar Springs Road sites.

“The goal is to do it when the river is low,” Clarey said. “We’re anxious to get something started, so we’ll probably start on those two sites between June and August, unless the river dries up a bit before then.”

Clarey said the site located at the Water Authority Treatment Plant will require more planning before getting approval, as a route around the intake valve needs to be established for river tourists. The other two sites are on private property and are still being negotiated with the owners.

However, despite the fact that the canoe trail may only have two access points this year, Clarey said those who put in at these sites can still paddle most of the trail, which is 23.8 miles long along the Tallapoosa River, and then link up with a canoe trail in Alabama and use that state’s access points as well.

Even with partial completion, Clarey says the trail will be a “fantastic recreational activity” for area residents as well as visitors.

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Despite their environmental and economic importance, coastal wetlands Image(wetlands located in coastal watersheds) in the eastern United States are being lost at twice the rate they are being restored. More focused protection strategies are required to reverse this trend.

What can YOU do to help Protect Wetlands?

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We can make decisions in our everyday lives which help preserve coastal wetland area and maintain their ecological integrity:

  1. Participate in programs that help protect and restore wetlands. Contact local, state, or federal agencies, community groups, environmental organizations, and other non-government organizations. See American Wetlands Month events.
  2. Report illegal actions such as unauthorized wetland fill or dredging activities to government authorities, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  3. Pick up litter and dispose in appropriate trash containers. Keep surface areas that wash into storm drains clean from pet waste, toxic chemicals, fertilizers, and motor oil, which can eventually reach and impair our wetlands.
  4. Use native species when planting trees, shrubs, and flowers to preserve the ecological balance of local wetlands.
  5. Use “living shoreline” techniques that make use of plant roots to stabilize soil if you own waterfront property and your shoreline or river bank needs to be stabilized.
  6. Avoid wetlands if you are expanding your house or installing a shed.
  7. Use phosphate-free laundry and dishwasher detergents. Phosphates encourage algae growth, which can suffocate aquatic life.
  8. Use paper and recycled products made from unbleached paper. Bleached paper contains toxic chemicals that can contaminate water.
  9. Use non-toxic products for household cleaning and lawn and garden care. Never spray lawn and garden chemicals outside on a windy day or on a day that it might rain and wash the chemicals into waterways.
  10. Enjoy the scenic and recreational opportunities coastal wetlands offer, while preserving their integrity for future generations by minimizing the use of heavy equipment and staying in designated visitor areas where available.

http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/cwt.cfm.#2

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From Paddle Georgia news, River Spotlight, Upcoming events, and other goodies- Check it out!

Confluence

http://www.garivers.org/files/confluence/jan2013.pdf

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Time for GRN’s Tip of Week ~ It’s COOL to COMPOST!

ImageBy adding organic material, such as compost, to the soil in your yard you can reduce soil erosion and improve the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients.

How COOL is that!?

http://www.conservewatergeorgia.net/documents/indiv_outdoorTips.html#addOrganic

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Paddling Tour – Sweetwater Creek State Park – Feb 2nd, 12pm

Sweetwater Creek State ParkDescription: Come and paddle with us at Sweetwater Creek State Park! On this scenic tour you will experience wetlands, water fowl and serene rolling hills as you paddle on Sweetwater’s beautiful lake. You’ll be joined by ACA-trained kayak instructors there to make sure you get the most out of your paddling experience. Pre-requisite: Learn to Kayak Class or equivalent skills. Students must be physically able to paddle 4 miles. Touring kayaks will be available for participants at no additional charge.

Member: $60.00
Non Member: $80.00

Register – http://www.rei.com/class/42645/session/62648

Skills you’ll learn:

Have a fun kayak experience in a beautiful place. Learn about basic kayak gear and clothing selection. Learn basic kayak stroke techniques. Test out a touring kayak Learn the basics of managing yourself on a guided kayak tour.

Duration: 4.0 hours

Check out the gear list.

Location: Sweetwater Creek State Park – George Sparks Reservoir Boat Ramp | More Info, Directions, Gear List

Required Legal Form:
This course requires the participant to read and sign a liability release form before participating. Please see “Required Legal Form” for the session you are registering for. You will need to print, sign and bring the form to your class.

More Partner Information:

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Just in case you haven’t heard the word:

GRN is introducing the 2013 Monthly Photo Showcase and GRN Staff Pick of the Month!

photocontest picThis is the FINAL DAY to submit January’s Photo of:

* * *YOUR FAVORITE PHOTO of 2012 * *

Each month we will have a different theme and invite you to email us a photo that you think best represents the topic of the month. We will showcase everyone’s photos on our website and social media and one photo per month will receive the illustrious title of ‘GRN Staff Pick of the Month’ and the chosen photo’s author will receive a surprise token of gratitude.

So get those cameras poised and creative juices flowing. Email your photo submission to gwyneth@garivers.org.

Check out more details and a sneak peek of the 2013 Monthly Themes:
http://ow.ly/gKakg

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Georgia challenge seeks new paddlers

Posted: January 23, 2013

ImageLast year the Georgia River Network issued a challenge to kayakers and canoeists around the state: Paddle 12 different Georgia rivers in 2012.

Savannahian Gerry Cowart took the challenge seriously. He was not only the first participant to finish, but also this recreational overachiever doubled the goal, keeping up his pace after hitting the dozen mark in June.

“I figured since I love it so much I ought to double the challenge,” he said.

Cowart did, ultimately paddling 24 rivers along the coast and into middle Georgia. He chronicled his paddles on the Georgia River Network website. A banner listing all the rivers and the dates paddled hangs from a balcony at his Landings home.

The challenge didn’t get him out paddling more; he was already an avid kayaker. But it upped his destination diversity.

“It was wonderful to have a reason to travel to a new river,” said Cowart, an architect who’s on the board of the Ogeechee Riverkeeper. “It made me more aware of what’s available around here.”

His favorite new spot might just be the Satilla River, he said.

But the coolest thing he saw all year was closer to home on the Canoochee.

“I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw something swimming across the mouth of a creek,” he said. “It was a big buck. It was the top of its head, the horns and the nose. It hit the shore and jumped out.”

This year’s challenge from the nonprofit Georgia River Network is to take 13 people paddling in 2013 who might not otherwise go on their own. The ultimate goal, said executive director April Ingle, is to promote the use of the Georgia water trails website, which her organization curates. (Find it at http://garivers.org/gwtc/.)

“We wanted to create a challenge to get people to go out. It’s as much about events and outings (as trails),” Ingle said. “We try to publicize places around the state that give people the opportunity to paddle.”

http://savannahnow.com/news/2013-01-23/georgia-challenge-seeks-new-paddlers#.UQAHIuiH8y6

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 Come Paddle Through A Proposed Shopping Center in Rome

THIS SATURDAY! Jan. 19, 10:30 AM. Join CRBI as we explore the Burwell Creek floodplain and wetlands that are slated for development into a 60-acre shopping center

Recent heavy rains have forced the Oostanaula River out of its banks, spilling over into adjacent wetlands and floodplain, including the Burwell Creek wetlands adjacent to Riverside Parkway and Ridge Ferry Park in Rome. This 60-acre parcel of city-owned land is slated for development into a shopping center…we think that’s a really bad idea, and we think you’ll agree after you paddle over what could be the future home of a strip mall.

Join us for this educational adventure, learn about wetlands and floodplains and help us protect these sepcial places!

Complimentary boats are available. Those with their own boats are encouraged to bring them. To reserve a boat, please contact Joe Cook at 706-232-2724 or e-mail jcook@coosa.org Participants should meet at the Burwell Creek parking area at Ridge Ferry Park. Click here for more information.

Annual Membership Meeting and 20th Anniversary Celebration Jan. 28 At Rome-Floyd ECO River Education Center

Help CRBI celebrate 20 years of protecting the Coosa at our annual membership meeting Jan. 28, 2013 at 6:30 P.M. at the Rome-Floyd ECO River Education Center. The program will include our 2012 Annual Report, Election of Board Officers, Recognition of Key Volunteers and Supporters and a special program highlighting 20 years of CRBI’s efforts to protect the Coosa. This is a free event with appetizers and drinks, plus all the great fish, turtle and other wildlife exhibits at the ECO Center. Learn more by visiting the CRBI website! 

Georgia General Assembly Is Now In Session! Keep Track Of Important Environmental Legislation by Joining the Georgia Environmental Action Network! It’s Free!

The Georgia Environmental Action Network (GEAN) is a free service that will notify you via e-mail when an important vote on environmental legislation is pending. Then, with a few clicks of your mouse, you can send an e-mail to your legislator to voice your opinion on the legislation. Sign up for GEAN Now! and get ready for the 2013 legislative session! 

Coosa River Basin Initiative 408 Broad St. Rome, GA 30161 706-232-2724 www.coosa.org

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Judge Enforces Wetlands Buffer

By Orlando Montoya

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —

ImageThe definition of waterway becomes tricky when you get to coastal wetlands. A court ruling could help state environmental regulators get a more concrete answer. (photo Kilkenny Plantation).
State regulators will have to enforce a 25 foot vegetative buffer for most all waterways in Georgia.

That’s what an state administrative law judge has ruled in a case that pits environmentalists against the state Environmental Protection Division. The ruling could be appealed to Superior Court. The case involves the definition of waterway. State law defines what’s protected and what’s not. But tricky wording in the law has led the EPD to apply a less stringent standard to wetlands.

Attorney Bill Sapp of the Southern Environmental Law Center says the ruling is a win for anyone who enjoys or drinks from Georgia waters.

“When the rivers run orange in Georgia, you know you got a problem. And that has happened all too frequently,” Sapp says. “Even a 25-foot buffer would help filter any storm run-off that might be carrying that from getting into our waters.”

The case involves a wetland in South Georgia’s Grady County. But it could affect wetlands across the state, especially on the coast. Of course, the case is still in its early stages. Officials could appeal to keep their interpretation of where waterways begin and upland areas begin.

http://www.gpb.org/news/2013/01/16/judge-enforces-wetlands-buffer

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It’s almost time to secure your place at Weekend for Rivers, GRN’s  annual Conference and ImageRiver Celebration! This year’s 2-day storytelling, partying and paddling event will take place April 6-7 at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, Georgia.

Weekend for Rivers gives us all a chance each year to get together and celebrate Georgia’s unique, beautiful rivers as a community of aficionados and advocates. Saturday, April 6th will be a day of inspiration, education and connections with folks who are as passionate about Georgia’s rivers as you are.  ImageThe day will include a series of short presentations and interactive forums that will paint a broad picture of the state of Georgia’s rivers and the people who work every day to protect and honor them, and this year we’re including a track focused on river issues and policies as well.

And to top off a day of inspiring presentations, join us for our annual River Celebration Party—you can come whether or not you can attend the rest of the weekend! That night, there will be an opportunity to camp at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, wake up the next morning and paddle a stretch of the beautiful Chattahoochee River!

So, put Weekend for Rivers on your calendar and look for registration to open HERE on February 1st!

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