We are very happy to welcome aboard our most recent Swim Guide Affiliate: the Chattahoochee RiverWarden. Summer is in full swing, and they are joining the crew in time for the summer water quality monitoring season.
In 2009 thirty concerned citizens from Georgia and Alabama met to discuss ways to protect and preserve the Chattahoochee river. Formally incorporated in 2010, the Chattahoochee RiverWarden (CRW) is a non-profit organization. Their focus is to manage issues affecting the health of the river basin from West Point Lake to the Florida state line.
Science, education and advocacy are key pillars to the CWR organization. These are essential for the CRW to help promote the protection and stewardship of the middle Chattahoochee River. As an effective grassroots conservation organization, the CRW plays an important part of the environmental community. Furthermore, they are broadening their role to include more communities. The goal is to raise awareness, foster environmental stewardship, and advocate for clean water.
Staff and volunteers of the CRW monitor over 30 sites in the Chattahoochee River, Lake Oliver, and Lake Harding. In Addition, tributaries to the river are monitored, including Roaring Branch, Weracoba, and Bull Creek. Water quality is checked every month at these sites. If water quality issues emerge at a site, CRW plans innovative steps to restore the water quality to safe levels.
As part of a community water quality monitoring project, CRW formed a partnership with Georgia Adopt-A-Stream and Alabama Water Watch. Through local workshops on bacterial monitoring, forty volunteers became trained on stream monitoring. They are also Quality Assurance/Quality Control certified. The focus of these workshops included training on proper collection of water samples and sample transfer to plates for incubation. Moreover, workshop participants learned to interpret and analyze the results. This volunteer monitoring program is a great example of CRW using science, education and advocacy to promote the protection of the Chattahoochee River.
Currently CRW has adopted 15 tributaries to the river, and monitors the water regularly for chemicals and bacteria. They take a very active role in monitoring past issues and also identifying new ones. Thus, a large part of their program is spent travelling the lakes, river and its streams. This has led to new discoveries and creative plans to keep the Chattahoochee river clean and healthy.
The Chattahoochee River is around 430 miles long, and the river basin covers 8,770 square miles. The middle portion of the river starts just south of Peachtree Creek in Atlanta. It flows southwest from there, past West Point Lake, and through to the Georgia/Alabama state line. More importantly, the river provides many Georgia and Alabama residents with drinking water and important spots for recreational activities. Along with its human residents the river is home to many native and endangered species. For example, it is home to fish like the Cherokee Darter, and birds like the Bachman’s Sparrow.
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