Archive for January, 2013

The Etowah River User’s Guide is the first in a series of books to be published in partnership with Georgia River Network, a nonprofit organization working to ensure a clean water legacy in Georgia. The guidebooks, printed on waterproof paper and ready to go from car seat to canoe seat, will help fulfill this mission by encouraging Georgians to explore and appreciate their rivers and will support efforts to create and sustain water trails in the state. Designed to educate river users, enhance their on-river experiences, and allow them to safely explore the river, each guide will include:EtowahFINAL.indd

  • an introduction and overview of the river
  • chapters describing each river section with detailed maps and notes on river access and points of interest
  • a compact natural history guide featuring species of interest found along Georgia’s rivers
  • notes on safety and boating etiquette
  • a fishing primer
  • notes on organizations working to protect the river

The Etowah River User’s Guide is due out in May. Click here for more information about the book!

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Ever pay attention to how long you spend in the shower?

water_pie_webDid you know that a 5 minute shower uses anywhere between 10 to 25 gallons of water!

Reduce the time you spend in the shower and make sure you have a water saving shower head installed!




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January 2013


2013 Monthly Photo Showcase and GRN Staff Pick of the Month

GRN is excited to announce our ‘2013 Monthly Photo Showcase and GRN Staff Pick of the Month’. Each month we will have a different theme and invite you to send us a photo that youIMG_0861 2 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.We will accept photo entries up until the third week of each month and announce the GRN staff pick and showcase all photo submissions the last week of each month.

IMG_2502January’s theme is:

* * * Favorite photo of 2012 * * *

So get those cameras poised and creative photo juices flowing and submit your January photo entry NOW to Gwyneth@garivers.org

Here is a sneak peek of the 2013 Monthly Themes:

  • January– Favorite photo of 2012
  • February– The love boat paddlers photo
  • March– Photo of a river problem that needs to be fixed
  • April– Best ‘Weekend For Rivers’ photo
  • May– Photo of creative way(s) of conserving water/How do you conserve water?
  • June– River wildlife tires 5 (2)photo
  • July– Favorite 2013 Paddle Georgia photo
  • August– Funniest paddling photo
  • September– Summer water fun with pet(s) photo
  • October– Protecting and cleaning up rivers photo
  • November– Fabulous fall colors photo
  • December– The gift of water photo
Georgia River Network
126 South Milledge Ave. Suite E3, Athens, GA 30605
Become a Member Today – Join

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January 2013


Congrats to 2012 Finishers! ~ 2013 Challenge is up!

Greetings 12 in 2012 Challengers!12th river - 12 fingers1Over 60 people took on our challenge to paddle 12 different Georgia rivers in 2012. And even though not everyone completed 12 rivers, everyone made a valiant effort and got out and enlt challenge tybee slough (2)joyed Georgia’s rivers.We are extremely proud of the 15 paddlers who did successfully complete the challenge and especially of those who went above and beyond…

One of those overachievers was Gerry Cowart who not only was the first to complete his 12 rivers, ACamp Dog1he went on to paddle 24 rivers by the end of 2012. Another avid paddler who ultimately paddled 20 rivers was Glen Smith, who went on a total of 50+ paddle trips during the year.Suzi Parron

Every paddler has their own unique experience when out on the water, which is why we asked challengers to submit their photos and stories. We loved following Mary Siceloff and Liz Williams’ blog about two close friends doing theA.Hughes challenge together. It was a true delight to hear about Suzi Parron’s strong passion for paddling that even a boot on her foot couldn’t keep her off the river. Bobby Marie made us proud with the photos capturing the immense amount of trash he picked up. It was inspiring to see the love bird couples Kyle & Andrea Camp and Lonny & Rhonda Amicalola Ledges 1 (2)Martin accomplishing the challenge together. Outdoor enthusiast, Patrick Phelps, persevered even when the temperatures started dropping and he was ready to move on to his other love – mountain biking. Photographer, Anne Ledbetter, captured some absolutely amazing photos on her paddling trips. We were excited to see Allison Hughes of GA Adopt-A-Stream share photos of her awesome adventures on both black and whitewater, too! And last but not least – our very own Joe Cook and April Ingle led by example and represented our Paddle GA/Georgia River Network team well when they paddled 12+ rivers each.

Millerlake and creek (2) 2So, kudos to each of the 12 in 2012 finishers! They are an inspiration to all of us here at Georgia River Network and beyond. We trust it was a fun challenge.

CONGRATS to Patrick Phelps the lucky winner of a FULL Weekend for Rivers Conference and Party Pass! And for those of y’all who have never attended this AWESOME experience don’t miss out!

Are y’all ready for the 2013 Georgia River Challenge?!

~ Take 13 People Paddling in 2013 ~

Share the joy of paddling Georgia’s rivers with friends and family who otherwise would not go on their own!

Georgia River Network is encouraging river lovers to celebrate Georgia’s rivers – familyrapidsfrom wild places to urban waterways – by taking 13 people paddling in 2013 who might not otherwise go on their own. Set your New Year’s resolution to get outside, get active and get to know your home state with friends and family. Georgia’s rivers offer a variety of experiences including family friendly afternoon paddles, riverside hikes, exciting whitewater and blackwater experiences.IMG_3173
The goal of this year’s ‘Take 13 People Paddling in 2013’ challenge is to promote Georgia’s growing water trail movement and send more people to the Georgia Water Trails Website to identify water trails to paddle, locate outfitters, find organized paddling trips or plan their own trip with friends and family who have little to know paddling experience.
To join the list of paddlers participating, just send an email to gwyneth@garivers.org with your name and address to sign up.

When you have successfully completed the challenge by taking 13 people paddling on Georgia’s rivers, who otherwise would not go on their own, send in documentation about your trip including photos, stories, videos and/or poems about the rivers you explored and with whom. Send to gwyneth@garivers.org or to Georgia River Network, 126 South Milledge Ave. Suite E3, Athens, GA 30605. GRN will send you a sticker for your boat.
GRN reserves the right to reprint and reuse any documentation submitted. Georgia River Network’s Water Trails Website can help you find outfitters, events, organized trips, resources and a list of Georgia Water Trails to plan your own adventure.

Keep on rollin’ on the river….

Gwyneth Moody
Community Programs Coordinator
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Georgia River Network
126 South Milledge Ave. Suite E3, Athens, GA 30605
Become a Member Today – Join

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Columbus Ledger: Leaders bring new ideas to the table for whitewater rafting course

Published: January 10, 2013



With whitewater rafting on the Chattahoochee River less than six months away, about 120 business, political and education leaders from both sides of the river came together Thursday to discuss ways the region can capitalize on what they hope will be a flood of visitors.

It was part pep rally and part brain-storming session for a new game that has been almost 15 years in the talking, planning and construction phases.

W.C. Bradley Co. executive John Turner, the father of the project, said final demolition and construction at the Eagle & Phenix Dam will be completed in two months. Work has already begun on breaching the City Mills Dam and will be finished before rafting begins in June.

“In June, I hope to say ‘mission accomplished,'” Turner said. “In saying that, I hope I am not going to look like George Bush in Iraq.”

Mat Swift, president of the W.C. Bradley Real Estate Division, said the challenge now is to make certain the $24 million project to breach both dams and construct a 2.5-mile urban whitewater course lives up to lofty expectations. He compared it to the move of the Armor School to Fort Benning in the Base Realignment and Closing process completed in 2011.

“There are a lot of expectations with the whitewater project,” Swift said, “just like there were a lot of expectations with BRAC. After BRAC came and went, there was some disappointment.”

Swift also used the comparison to the Tennessee Aquarium that opened in downtown Chattanooga 21 years ago.

“They projected they would draw 500,000 visitors, and the first year they drew a million,” he said.

A 2010 Columbus State University study led by economics professor Mike Daniels said the project could generate $42 million annually in economic development and draw 144,000 out-of-town visitors.

“The expectation with this project — and this is my personal opinion and nothing against the Columbus State University study — but I expect that we are going to exceed the economic development number,” Swift said.

The CSU study also projects that the whitewater course will create 700 jobs, generate more than $2 million in new sales tax revenue and bring an estimated 1.5 million people to the riverfront.

The group assembled Thursday at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center was charged with breathing new ideas into the process.

Columbus attorney Don Morgan represents the Uptown Business Improvement District and has been aware of the whitewater project’s progress and potential for years. Thursday’s summit was the logical next step in developing a plan for promoting and preparing for it.

“Any time you can get 122 brains together, something is going to come out of it that you haven’t thought about before,” Morgan said. “You are going to have a cross-fertilization of ideas.”

Morgan, 60, is a lifelong Columbus resident. The last two decades he has watched the city change in ways few predicted.

“You have the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, South Commons, a new coliseum, redo the Springer, National Infantry Museum, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, now this,” Morgan said. “In was like in 1996 when those Olympic softball fields came into play, someone kicked a snowball down a hill.”

Rob Kelly is vice president of operations for North Carolina-based Nantahala Outdoor Center, one of the two outfitters selected to run guided tours on the course. The other outfitter is Tennessee-based Whitewater Express. Kelly compares what is happening in Columbus to MasterCard, a credit card whose logo is two overlapping circles.

“You have two outfitters that both know the business, and you have a city that is making this thing happen,” Kelly said. “They are all key components. What we are doing is creating a product. And those who come and use the product are going to tell us how successful it is going to be.”

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By Maria Saporta

The Nature Conservancy — Georgia unveiled a New Year’s present Thursday when it announced that it has purchased 6,277 acres along the Altamaha River in Wayne County.


The tract, known as Boyles Island, has been on the Nature Conservancy’s “wish list” for decades, according to the press release issued by conservation organization.

“I grew up in this area and actually learned to shoot a shotgun on Boyles Island at the tender age of eight, so I am personally proud of this land protection success,” said Mark Abner, director for the Nature Conservancy in Georgia. “A multi-partner effort made this transaction possible, and we are grateful to all the supporters who continue to help the Conservancy realize our vision on the Altamaha River and Georgia coast.”

Boyles Island spans 8.7 miles of the Altamaha River and features an extensive floodplain forest of oak-hickory bottomland and cypress-tupelo swamp, with isolated ridges of live oak and spruce pine, as well as creeks, sloughs and oxbow lakes.

This tract adjoins more than 106,000 acres of land that is already protected, filling a gap on the west side of a more than 40-mile long corridor that protects habitat along the Altamaha River. The contiguous corridor helps ensure the viability of many important species, including Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon, prized recreational and commercial fisheries from the river channel to the saltwater coast; and bird life such as the rare swallow-tailed kite and numerous other migratory birds.

Protected land along the river helps the Georgia coast as well, improving water quality before it reaches the estuary and allowing natural, seasonal variations in water quantity and temperature to endure.

The Nature Conservancy is purchasing the land from Rayonier for $8 million. The Conservancy will also sell a restrictive easement, valued at $3.1 million, to the U.S. Marine Corps through the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) program, which was created by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and is used to create land-use buffers between communities and military activity that can also protect habitat and provide recreational lands.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will purchase the land for $4 million from the Nature Conservancy in two phases over the next year, ultimately creating an extension of the Penholoway Swamp Wildlife Management Area, which is open to the public for recreation.

Funds to purchase the land came from a variety of sources. The transaction offered an opportunity for the Nature Conservancy to use the Georgia Land Conservation Program’s Revolving Loan Fund, a low-interest loan program designed to help protect high-priority conservation lands administered by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.

DNR has assembled funding from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Wetland grant, Knobloch Family Foundation grant, and state bond funds for its two-phase acquisition from the Conservancy. Together with the Marine Corps easement purchase, these funds will offset all but about $1 million of the purchase price, which the Conservancy is raising from private sources.

“Thanks to the many partners and supporters who worked tirelessly on this project, the citizens of Georgia will have new lands for outdoor recreation and Boyles Island will be preserved for generations to come,” said Mark Williams, DNR commissioner.

The Boyles Island tract has a long history as a private working forest, dating back to at least the 1930s when it was owned by Savannah River Lumber Company. For the past 40 years it has been owned and managed by Rayonier, which has periodically harvested hardwood timber while relying on its highly-fertile flood-nourished soils and natural revegetation patterns to sustain such activity.

“Boyles Island is an ecological treasure,” said Paul Boynton, chairman, president and CEO of Rayonier. “Its diversity of habitat and critical importance to migratory birds, together with its location connecting other public conservation lands, make it extremely unique. We are delighted to again work with the U.S. Department of Defense, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Nature Conservancy to successfully protect a special property. This transaction takes Rayonier’s conservation land program to well over 150,000 acres – more than 30,000 acres located in southeast Georgia.”

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Check out this useful Interactive Map of Water Use by county for the Southeast created by Jon Becker!


waterusemapA user can click on a county to activate the interactive graphs in the dashboard. You can then mouse over the slices of the pie chart to see the quantities and percentages of the pie pieces.

A user can also select multiple counties at once with the Select Features tool and the graphs will dynamically adjust.

Scalable watershed boundaries are provided as a reference layer in case someone wants to get a rough approximation of water use by watershed (of course watershed boundaries don’t neatly align with counties).

You can zoom in/out with the wheel on your mouse or mouse over the lower left corner of the map to get zoom tools.

You may have to install Microsoft Silverlight plugin for the map to work, but it is not malware. Jon Becker wrote a description of the map including the USGS source data hyperlink that can be accessed at the Details button.

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Congrats to Suzi Parron for completing her 12 rivers in 2012!

She  paddled the following GA rivers:

Suzi ParronChattahoochee River – 1/7/12
Etowah River – 2/4/2012
Peachtree Creek – 4/7/12
Altamaha River – 4/20/12
Oconee River – 4/20/12
Ocmulgee River – 4/20/12
South River – 9/1/12
Tallapoosa River – 9/3/12
Conasauga River – 9/9/12
Coosawatee River – 9/9/12
Oostanaula River – 9/9/12
Ellijay River – 10/12/12

If you are inspired and want to see more photos of her adventures click HERE!Six weeks in a boot won't keep me off the river

Experience the journeys of the 12 in 2012 Challengers through their stories and photos HERE.

And if lo and behold you have not signed up for our newsletters you can do so by clicking HERE!

Make sure to also peruse our Water Trails Website when searching and planning for your next paddling adventure. It’s a great a place to find out about water trails, paddling events and trips, and outfitters and amenities throughout the State.

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River Friend,

We accomplished a lot together in 2012 and had one great time too. Cannualreportheck out GRN’s successes and watch through our 2012 Annual Report video.

Help us continue our work together in 2013 by making a contribution today!

Your Georgia River Network Friends

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