254 Volunteers Made a Difference at the 16th Annual Conasauga Watershed Clean-up

DALTON, GA -  254 volunteers from Whitfield and Murray Counties helped clean-up seven locations along the Consasauga River Watershed during the United Way of Northwest Georgia’s “Make a Difference Day” on Saturday, October 23rd.

The Conasauga River, one of the six most biologically diverse freshwater river systems in the United States, supports 24 endangered species and a dozen other imperiled species, including the Southern Pigtoe mussel and the Conasauga log perch, a fish found nowhere else in the world.  After spending the morning cleaning up different sections of the Conasauga Watershed, seven volunteer groups had removed 12,621 pounds of trash and debris.  Items collected included discarded tires, rims, car parts, plastic bags, cans, bottles, used carpet, and even broken bicycles.  Chinese Privet, an invasive shrub, was also removed at the Prater’s Mill location.

Below are the seven locations in Whitfield and Murray counties selected as clean-up sites followed by the number of volunteers, and amount of trash and debris removed at each one.

1. Conasauga River at Lower King’s Bridge/Norton Bridge, 35 volunteers, 5,020 lbs.

2. Conasauga River at Highway 2 Bridge, 51 volunteers, 360 lbs.

3. Conasauga River at Carlton Petty Road Bridge, 17 volunteers, 790 lbs.

4. Holly Creek, Murray County, on the Chattahoochee National Forest, 38 volunteers, 625 lbs.

5. Mill Creek tributary in the City of Dalton, 41 volunteers, 3,680 lbs.

6. Coahulla Creek at Prater’s Mill, 60 volunteers, 2,060 lbs.

7. McClellan Creek in Dalton, 12 volunteers, 86 lbs.

This year’s Conasauga Watershed Clean-up included fifty more volunteers than last year. The amount of clean-up time donated by the 254 volunteers is valued at $15,900.  As a group they collected 7,200 more pounds of garbage than in 2009.  The first 200 volunteers received a t-shirt and water bottle in appreciation for their participation.  Event organizers want to thank everyone who participated and contributed to the success of this year’s event.

The Conasauga Watershed Clean-up has been a part of Rivers Alive, a statewide campaign to clean and preserve over 70,000 miles of Georgia’s rivers and streams, for sixteen years.  Rivers Alive continues to be the State’s and one of the South’s largest volunteer efforts to beautify water resources.  As of the beginning of November, 15,303 volunteers participated 138 clean-up events through out the state this year.  Together they have collected 233,717 pounds of garbage from Georgia waterways.

For additional information about this year’s event, please contact John Lugthart at jlugthart@daltonstate.edu or call 706-272-2485.  For more information about efforts in other areas or the statewide campaign, call 404-675-6240 or go to www.RiversAlive.org.

This year’s Funding Sponsors included Shaw Industries, Dalton Utilities, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Conasauga River Alliance (CRA).

Coordinators for 2010 included the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI), Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, Dalton State College, Dalton Utilities, Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful, and Murray & Whitfield County Extension.

Supporters of the statewide campaign include Georgia Adopt-A-Stream and Project WET, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division, Keep Georgia Beautiful, and Georgia Department of Community Affairs.