September 1, 2011

CRBI sponsors paddle trip on Chattooga River

The Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI) will host a paddle trip on the Chattooga River Saturday, Sept. 3, allowing local residents and visitors to explore one of Northwest Georgia’s most intimate paddling destinations.

The trip will run from near Maddox Lake six miles downstream along a shady corridor to a take out on private property near Ga. 100. The trip is suitable for beginners and free to CRBI members. Pre-registration is required. Canoe and kayak rentals are available. Non-members can join CRBI for the discounted family rate of $30.

“The Chattooga has long been viewed as the waste receptacle for the textile mills, but over the past 30 years, great strides have been made in cleaning up the Chattooga,” said Joe Cook, executive director and riverkeeper with CRBI. “Summerville and Trion have an untapped recreational resource in the Chattooga River. It’s a beautiful river that’s worth exploring.”

The Chattooga River has been identified by state water planners as a river of concern. Officials with the Coosa-North Georgia Water Planning District predict that by 2050 local water supply demands will exceed the river’s capacity and wastewater discharges from municipal treatment plants could pollute the river to unsafe levels for fish and other aquatic wildlife.

Planning District documents show that Chattooga County’s population will grow by 15,168 residents over the next 40 years to a population of 42,503. Water demand will grow by almost two million gallons a day to a projected need of 5.93 million gallons in 2050. Wastewater flows to the Chattooga will also increase.

“There’s concern that the Chattooga will not be able to sustain the area’s growing population,” Cook said. “We need to begin now taking steps to fully utilize this resource without damaging it. We need to take less water from it and reduce the amount of pollution we dump into it. This paddle trip is a way of beginning that conversation.”

During the past several months, CRBI has been surveying local water suppliers to determine where Chattooga County communities could reduce water use and extend existing water supplies. For instance, the city of Trion has the potential to reduce its current water use by as much as 20 percent by metering its customers and implementing a toilet retrofit program. Complete reports will be released in the coming weeks.    

For more information and to register, visit www.coosa.org or contact Cook at jcook@coosa.org or (706) 232-2724.

CRBI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. Its mission is to inform and empower citizens to protect, preserve and restore North America’s most biologically diverse river basin.

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