(Dalton, GA, November 21, 2016) – Used tires, litter, a car bumper, and an illegally dumped mattress were part of the 10,672 pounds of garbage removed by volunteers during the 22st Annual Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup Event on Saturday, October 22. The annual event took place during United Way’s “Make a Difference Day”.
Two-hundred and ninety-nine volunteers spent the morning removing trash, debris, and invasive plants from eleven locations in Whitfield and Murray counties. The amount of time donated by volunteers during this year’s event, approximately 1,196 hours, is valued at $25,714. “Volunteers that come out and participate are of all ages and walks of life so it is a wonderful opportunity to get to know other people while doing a service for your community.” Said Amelia Atwell, an event participant.
Sites included in this year’s event were the Conasauga River at Carlton Petty Road Bridge, at Highway 2 bridge, and at Lower King’s Bridge and Norton Bridge. Also, Holly Creek in Murray County on the Chattahoochee National Forest, the Mill Creek tributary in the City of Dalton, Coahulla Creek at Prater’s Mill, and Lakeshore Park and Al Rollins Park in the City of Dalton.
Garbage found at each site was the result illegal dumping, irresponsible abandonment after using a site, or accidental loss of items from a vehicle with an unsecured load. Event participants encourage the public to pickup litter when they see it; properly secure loads on vehicles; take out what they take in at outdoor recreation areas; and properly dispose of tires and bulky items at an approved drop-off location.
“Be a good example for your children and others around you. If you see trash pick it up. If you see someone else throw out trash, ask them to pick it up.” Added Shell Underwood, longtime volunteer. Small efforts from everyone will result in a cleaner, healthier, and more beautiful environment.
The following sponsors provided the funds needed to purchase t-shirts for volunteers, cleanup supplies, and hauled off the garbage: J+J Flooring Group, Shaw Industries, Dalton Utilities, Conasauga River Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Georgia's Rivers Alive, Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, and Whitfield County Public Works.
Also, the following organizations helped coordinated the event: Conasauga River Alliance, Dalton State College, Dalton Utilities, Keep Chatsworth-Murray Beautiful, Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful, Limestone Valley RC & D, and Whitfield and Murray County Extension.
The Conasauga River, one of the six most biologically diverse freshwater river systems in the United States, supports twenty-four endangered species and a dozen other imperiled species, including the Southern Pigtoe mussel and the Conasauga logperch, a fish found nowhere else in the world.
The Conasauga Watershed Clean-up has long been a participant of Rivers Alive, one of the South’s largest volunteer efforts to beautify water resources. So far this year, 8,259 volunteers have participated in 126 clean-up events through out the state and have removed 335,949 pounds of garbage from 629 miles of Georgia waterways. For more information about efforts in other areas or the statewide campaign visit www.RiversAlive.org.