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Confluence Newsletter
August 2015
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In This Issue

Read the August 2015 print edition of Confluence

Tired Creek Case Comes to a Close
Georgia Water Wire Blog: Coal Ash Clean-Up Pending
Donate Cars to Protect Rivers
Hike Inn Trip for Members

Hidden Gems Paddle Dates
Fall Float Registration Now Open
Weekend for Rivers - Register Now!
Group Spotlight: Soque River Watershed Association

Chattahoochee River User's Guide Available!
Sign Up for Protect Georgia Action Alerts
Wish List
1% for the Planet
Get GRN News in our RSS Feed


Tired Creek Case Comes To A Close

On June 15, 2015, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a ruling on a critical issue for Georgia’s streams.  The court’s disappointing and narrow decision asserts only Georgia streams with “wrested vegetation”—or clearly defined beds and banks—are entitled to protection from land disturbing activities by 25-foot vegetative buffers as set forth in the Erosion and Sedimentation Act (1975).
 
The decision stems from a legal suit filed on behalf of Georgia River Network and American Rivers by Southern Environmental Law Center on August 3, 2012.  We challenged the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD) issuance of a stream buffer variance to Grady County for construction of the Tired Creek fishing lake.  After multiple rounds in lower courts agreed with us, EPD and Grady County filed an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court where the case was argued in January 2015.

Read the full article in the August 2015 print edition of Confluence.

See the Water Wire Blog Post about this issue at https://gawaterwire.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/buffer-battles-past-present-and-future/

Georgia Water Wire Blog: Coal Ash Clean-Up Pending

In April 2015, Gulf Power Company shuttered the more than sixty-year old coal-fired Scholz Generating Plant, located on the banks of the Apalachicola River near Sneads in Florida’s Panhandle.  Retired and operating coal-fired plant sites all include mountains and ponds full of toxic ash, which is a by-product of generating electricity.

Coal ash ponds—which are often sited immediately adjacent to major rivers or lakes—leak and fail, sending pollutants into water communities need for drinking and other purposes.

In 2014, Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy because Scholz is not in compliance with the Clean Water Act.  The facility’s unlined coal ash pond is leaking, which constitutes an unpermitted and illegal discharge into the Apalachicola River.  In a settlement, Gulf Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company, agreed to a specific long-term coal ash clean-up plan.  This settlement adds Florida to a list of southern states working to address coal ash pollution and its long-term threats.

Is current coal ash storage in Georgia a danger to our rivers?  Given two of the nation’s largest coal ash spills in Tennessee (2008) and in the Dan River (2014), plus agreements to clean up coal ash in North Carolina and South Carolina, a plausible answer would be: yes.

-Chris Manganiello

Click here to visit the water wire blog.


Donate Cars to Protect Rivers

Donate a vehicle to GRN and help save our rivers!

Turn your car, truck, RV, or boat into protection for Georgia’s rivers. Donating is quick, easy, and secure.  We accept any vehicle - running or not - including cars, trucks, boats, RVs, ATVs, motorcycles, waverunners, and more. We work with our colleagues at Charitable Auto Resources to ensure that your donation delivers the highest possible revenue to Georgia River Network and that your experience is convenient and efficient.

Your vehicle is towed free of charge and the donation is eligible for a tax deduction.

Contact Davin Welter, GRN’s Development Director, at davin@garivers.org or 706-548-4508 if you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity or for more information about the vehicle donation program.


Hike Inn Trip for Members

Georgia River Network (GRN) has an opportunity to bring a group to the Hike Inn on Wed. Sept. 9th.  The Inn has room for up to 40 people - first come, first served.  Cost and How to Sign Up: The Hike Inn is generously offering a special rate for our group! $42.50/person for double occupancy, $58.50/person for single occupancy (Normally $170/$117!) + tax. To reserve your spot, contact the Hike Inn at 800-581-8032, 10:00am - 5:00pm Monday-Friday. If you are unable to reach them by phone, leave them a message at reservations@hike-inn.com that includes your name, phone number and the best time to reach you. They will call you back to book your reservation. Provide code GRN when you sign up. About the Hike Inn: http://hike-inn.com.


Hidden Gems Paddle Dates

Save the date for excursions to rediscover some of the hidden gems on Georgia’s waterways. Each one-day river trip includes lunch and presentations along the route, ranging from natural history and water quality testing to cultural history and river cleanups. Learn more by clicking here.

Aug 22: South River – From Urban Wasteland to Wet & Wild Oasis - Go with the flow and explore this nearly forgotten beauty. Registration is open at www.south-river.eventbrite.com

Nov 14: Ochlockonee River – Tea-Stained Waters, Cypress Knees & Rich Wildlife Diversity - Discover this majestic river in the Red Hills of Southwest Georgia.



Fall Float Registration Now Open

Join Georgia River Network Columbus Day weekend 2015 for a voyage on the Flint River that would fill Christopher Columbus with envy. Oct. 9-12, we’ll travel 70 miles on the Flint from Albany to Bainbridge taking in the best of the Flint--beautiful blue hole springs, lively rapids, rich history, abundant wildlife and more! Fashioned after our annual week-long Paddle Georgia events, we’ll tent camp at Chehaw Park and on the river two nights at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat. Like our annual summer adventure, we’ll enjoy catered meals, educational programs and great camaraderie as we make our way down one of Georgia’s most beautiful rivers during a beautiful time of year. Tent camping only with limited options for indoor camping. Registration is now open!  Visit www.garivers.org/paddle_georgia/fallfloat.html for more information.

 

Weekend for Rivers 2015

Weekend for Rivers 2015 registration is OPEN!  Register NOW (or before August 14th) to take advantage of the earlybird discount!

Join us September 19th at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, GA for a day of inspiration, education and connections with folks who love Georgia’s rivers as much as you do! Weekend for Rivers is GRN’s Annual Conference and River Celebration event that gives us all a chance to celebrate Georgia’s unique, beautiful rivers through sharing stories and information, and hanging out with our river-loving friends, new and old! On Sunday, September 20th, you'll have the chance to paddle a beautiful 9-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee with Shoot the Hooch!

The theme of this year's Weekend for Rivers is "River Revelations." 
Join us September 19th for a day of inspiration, education and connections with your fellow Georgia river enthusiasts! Three tracks will explore Georgia's rivers from different angles:
•    The Revelations Track will take a look at Georgia's rivers through many different lenses and reveal the ways that rivers impact our lives and our point of view.  The focus of this track will be on stories told by artists, scientists, river advocates and others, about how a river might have taught an important life lesson about anything--local government, community, family, or the natural world.
•    The Technical Track will include presentations about policy, science, and water law, from the laws around coastal marsh buffers to Waters of the United States.
•    The Board Track will be a special opportunity for board members of river groups from all over the state to come together to share stories and learn about the best ways to deal with one of the biggest issues that plagues every nonprofit: How do we raise the money to do the work we do?  Participants will learn from other Georgia river group leaders about what works and what doesn't in grant writing, supporter fundraising, getting and keeping major donors, and organizing a lucrative, popular, long-lasting event. (We really want board members to attend this track, and are offering a Buy One, Get One on registration for board members of Georgia river groups!)

Saturday evening, we’ll have a ton of fun at our annual River Celebration Party and then we’ll camp at the Chattahoochee Nature Center (indoor and outdoor camping will be available, OR you can just get a hotel room).

And wake up on Sunday, September 20th, and paddle a gorgeous 9-mile stretch of the nationally-designated Chattahoochee Water Trail, through the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. You will be putting in at the Garrard Boat Ramp on the John's Creek Environmental Campus in Alpharetta and taking out at the Chattahoochee River Park in Roswell, Georgia. Shoot the Hooch will be renting boats, and can shuttle you back to your car at the end of the paddle. More information coming soon!

Click here for more information and to register for Weekend for Rivers. (And don't forget to register before August 14th to take advantage of the early registration discount!)
We can't wait to spend the Weekend with you!

Thanks to our Sponsors!

Storwater Systems  CNC Logo 2

 

Group Spotlight: Soque River Watershed Association

Each year, Jesslyn Shields, Georgia River Network’s Watershed Support Coordinator, works intensively with a couple river protection groups to help strengthen their organizational bones and navigate the tricky waters of river protection. This year, Jesslyn has been working with Soque River Watershed Alliance, an organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Soque River and its tributaries.

SRWA is a small organization, but they’ve accomplished a lot since its founding in 1998—and even survived their office catching fire a couple years ago! They have been lucky enough to have great leadership, a unique take on how to tailor the work they do to the Soque, and strong programs that involve the community in the work they do.  The organization also has a culture of planning for the future, and the board has written and implemented several consecutive 3-year strategic plans, all of which have helped SRWA make giant leaps forward in the protection of the Soque.

To read the full article in our print edition of Confluence, click here.


Chattahoochee River User's Guide Available

coverimageThe Chattahoochee River User’s Guide, the latest in a series of river guides from Georgia River Network and the University of Georgia Press, traces the 430-mile course of the Hooch from its headwaters at a spring on Coon Den Ridge near Jacks Knob in northeastern Georgia to its confluence with the Flint River where they form the Apalachicola River. The Georgia River Network guides provide many little-known facts about Georgia’s rivers, bring to life these rivers’ cultural and natural history, and present river issues in an immersive and engaging manner that will inspire users to help protect their local waterways. Click here to purchase and learn more.


Sign Up for Protect Georgia Action Alerts!

GRN members can stay up-to-date on issues affecting clean water, the health of our rivers and Georgia’s vital natural resources by signing-up for Protect Georgia action alerts.

Membership in Protect Georgia—formerly known as the Georgia Environmental Action Network (GEAN)—is free and allows you to easily contact your senator, representative or other decision maker via e-mail when an important decision is pending or a vote is scheduled.

GRN, working alongside our Georgia Water Coalition partners, advocates for protection of valuable coastal and wetland buffers, the underground supply of well water which provides drinking water for many Georgians, and healthy stream flows from the mountains to the sea.

Please sign up here: http://www.protectgeorgia.org/georgia-river-network---sign-up-form.html


Wish List

GRN is looking for the following new or gently used items for our office: a picnic table or concrete outdoor patio set, a vacuum cleaner, rolls of Forever stamps, gently used (or new!) well-functioning laptop, canoes and kayaks (sit on top kayaks, recreation kayaks, tandem kayaks, and canoes - in good shape), a conference table, and a covered trailer. Email info@garivers.org or call 706-549-4508 if you would like to donate any of these items.


1% For the Planet Partner

Georgia River Network is a 1% for the Planet non-profit partner. Over 1200 companies are giving 1% of their profits to organizations in the network that are committed to creating a healthy planet.  Learn more at www.onepercentfortheplanet.org


Get GRN News in Our RSS Feed

Not on Facebook? Want to see what is going on each day in the world of Georgia rivers?  Go here: http://garivernews.wordpress.com/. Click on the "follow" button in the bottom right corner, enter your email address, and our daily news will be delivered to your inbox.


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126 South Milledge Ave.
Suite E3
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