What is Adopt-A-Stream?
Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) is the state’s volunteer citizen scientist water quality monitoring program. Since its inception in 1993, the program has engaged volunteers in water protection activities, such as educational workshops to train individuals on the physical, chemical and biological health of their watershed.
AAS has five program goals we are encouraged to adopt:
1. Increase public awareness of the state’s nonpoint source pollution and water quality issues.
2. Collect quality baseline water data.
3. Gather observations.
4. Encourage partnerships between citizens and their local governments.
5. Provide citizens with the tools and training to evaluate and protect our local waterways.
To learn more, visit https://adoptastream.georgia.gov.
The Upper Etowah River Alliance (UERA) has a robust AAS program that is managed by board member Lori Forrester, a degreed environmental scientist and Cherokee County Water and Sewer Authority’s environmental affairs and public information specialist. Lori has more than 20 years of water quality monitoring and chemical laboratory analysis experience. She has been an AAS trainer for 18 years, while serving on the UERA board for 14 years.
How Can You Adopt a Stream?
UERA’s AAS program has 15 groups supporting 47 sites, from Cherokee to Lumpkin County. There are approximately 100 volunteer citizen scientists consistently gathering water samples at these sites. UERA offers training, such as a chemical monitoring workshop, which is designed to teach volunteers about basic stream water chemistry. We train on macroinvertebrate monitoring that focuses on collection and identification techniques, as stream macroinvertebrates are excellent indicators of the condition of water quality and habitat, as well as bacteria monitoring, which teaches volunteers how to monitor E. coli levels in their streams and identify possible sources of pollution.
We have capacity to support an additional 10 groups. If your neighborhood or organization is interested in assisting UERA in monitoring a stream or a portion of the Etowah, we will train you and provide needed supplies. (www.etowahriver.org)
The annual Georgia AAS conference, Confluence, will be March 18-20 at Unicoi State Park in Helen. UERA is proud to announce that several 2021 awards were garnered by board members, an AAS group leader and, overall for Lori’s efforts.
For 2021, Georgia AAS will recognize UERA’s Group-487 for extraordinary watershed monitoring effort. A second award will go to Woodstock’s Weatherstone subdivision resident, Sharon Camp. Sharon is receiving a Red Flag Award for reporting high bacteria numbers, resulting from sewage overflow. And, Toonigh Neighbors, made up of UERA Board members Nolton Johnson and John Seufert, is receiving the Outstanding Outreach and Partnership Award. Nolton and John have been monitoring this specific section of Toonigh Creek for 23 years!
Be sure to mark your calendar for the UERA annual Membership Meeting, April 20, at the Rock Barn in Canton. We will have our own awards for UERA members and affiliates, as well as a silent auction, including items such as weekend trips, paddle gear and artwork. Tickets soon will be available on our website, www.etowahriver.org.
More UERA Events Coming Soon!
April 30: Little River Cleanup and Waterfall Paddle
June 4: Paddle on Hollis Lathem Reservoir to Yellow Creek Waterfall
July 16: Picnic and Hike at Eagle’s Rest Park