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Leading Water Protection Coalition Announces Clean Water Celebration to Honor Water Heroes

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

March 8, 2018 -  Clean water heroes from across the state ranging from multi-national corporations to small sustainable farmers were recognized today for their work to protect Georgia’s water during the Georgia Water Coalition’s Inaugural Clean 13 Celebration. The event, featuring dinner and an awards ceremony was held in Atlanta.

The Celebration honored the City of Atlanta, Cox Enterprises, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Institute of Technology, Ladybug Farms, Macon Water Authority, Mark Masters, Chairman John Meadows, Scott Bridge Company, Solar Crowdsource, South Fork Conservancy, Storm Water Systems and United Parcel Service.

The full report can be found at https://www.gawater.org/clean-13/clean-13-2017-report.

Stephanie Stuckey, Chief Resilience Officer with the City of Atlanta, served as chairperson of the event.

“Around the state, businesses and communities are making a difference for clean water,” said Ms. Stuckey “These may seem like small projects, affecting just an isolated area, but collectively they add up to big improvements for our water and communities. This event will highlight this work and inspire others to emulate our honorees.”

In northwest Georgia, fish and fishermen are coming back to Raccoon Creek in Paulding County thanks to a multi-year, multi-million dollar project of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and private partners.  While other creeks spill loads of mud and dirt into the Etowah River, Raccoon Creek regularly runs clear, and rare fish like Etowah and Cherokee darters are thriving as portions of the creek are restored.

 

In urban Atlanta, years of rapid growth has resulted in pollution of the Chattahoochee and other rivers, harming downstream communities, but now, multiple businesses, governments and community groups are cleaning up urban creeks to prevent this pollution.

The City of Atlanta recently adopted one of the most far-reaching stormwater ordinances in the country. Since then, more than 3,500 projects have been approved using rain gardens, porous pavement, rainwater cisterns and other pollution controls.  These green infrastructure projects help to slow down and keep polluted rainwater from entering streams.

The Georgia Institute of Technology has built multiple projects that collect rainwater and keep pollution out of nearby Tanyard Creek. Tanyard feeds Peachtree Creek where the non-profit South Fork Conservancy is building trails and restoring the banks of Peachtree and its feeder streams. These projects along streams feeding the Chattahoochee help improve the river’s health.

In southwest Atlanta, the Chattahoochee gets another boost at the Cox Enterprises-owned Manheim vehicle remarketing facility. The company details some 68,000 vehicles every year and recycles 60 percent of the water it uses, helping keep water flowing in the river.  

Elsewhere around the state, entities big and small are making a difference. In the far northeast corner of the state, Ladybug Farms, a small sustainable farm in Rabun County, uses a massive rainwater catchment system to irrigate its crops, and now promotes similar systems to other farmers and gardeners.

Down south in Waycross, the Cleveland-Georgia based Storm Water Systems helped Waycross officials solve a river litter problem. The company installed an in-stream trash trap for the city that captures thousands of pounds of trash annually.  The trash is cleaned out and sent to a landfill, keeping the Satilla River and Georgia’s coast cleaner.

On the Altamaha River near Baxley, the Scott Bridge Company used thoughtful bridge design and construction to protect endangered fish and mussels.

In Columbus, as well as other location around the state, the shipping giant United Parcel Service has gone above and beyond state stormwater control requirements to protect tiny streams like Roaring Branch at its distribution hubs.

In the heart of the state, the Macon Water Authority used innovative pipe repair to help protect the Ocmulgee River.

Meanwhile, a little company in Decatur called Solar Crowdsource helped small businesses and homeowners invest in solar power projects.  These clean energy installations reduce our dependence on electricity from fossil fuel plants that threaten multiple Georgia rivers.

Individuals are doing their part as well. At the state capital, Rep. John Meadows, the powerful chairman of the House Rules Committee, led the effort to update state policy on oil and gas drilling.  Chairman Meadows’ legislation will ultimately help protect the state’s drinking water from risks associated with fracking. And, in southwest Georgia, Mark Masters of the Georgia Water Planning & Policy Center provides data and facts to shape state water policy.

Together, the efforts of these “Clean 13” are adding up to cleaner rivers, stronger communities and a more sustainable future for Georgia.

Read the full report at https://www.gawater.org/clean-13. Together, the efforts of these “Clean 13” are adding up to cleaner rivers, stronger communities and a more sustainable future for Georgia.

Clean 13 Event Sponsors included the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, The Sapelo Foundation, Anonymous, Barge Design Solutions, Cox Enterprises, Meredith Leapley, Newfields, The Erosion Company, Georgia Aquarium, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, American Rivers, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority, Flint Riverkeeper, Insituform Technologies LLC, Reverend Sam & Helen Rogers, Southern Environmental Law Center, Stephanie Stuckey, Stripling, Inc., Altamaha Riverkeeper, Coosa River Basin Initiative, Environment Georgia, The Garden Club of Georgia Inc., Georgia River Network, Georgia Wildlife Federation, Greenlaw, J. Galt & Associates, Kelly Jordan, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, One Hundred Miles, Paulding Chamber of Commerce, Satilla Riverkeeper, Savannah Riverkeeper, John Sibley, Sierra Club, Solar Crowdsource, Tally Sweat.

The Georgia Water Coalition is a consortium of more than 240 conservation and environmental organizations, hunting and fishing groups, businesses, and faith-based organizations that have been working to protect Georgia’s water since 2002. Collectively, these organizations represent thousands of Georgia

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