Lake Allatoona Association Volunteers Wrap Up Study
The Lake Allatoona Association’s (LAA) Lake Warriors, established in late 2018, is a group of volunteers who collect and remove trash in and around the lake year-round, especially during fall and winter months when the lake levels are lowest.
During the 2020 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020), the Lake Warriors volunteered 660 hours to collect and remove 805 bags of trash (8 tons) and 98 tires from the Cherokee County portion of Allatoona. The majority of the 731 bags of trash (7.3 tons) and 40 tires collected and removed was from the Little River and Noonday Creek areas. Based on several years of recorded data, the LAA, and the Lake Warriors, are confident that these two tributaries are major trash entrance points to Lake Allatoona, more so than any other tributaries.
During the summer of 2020, volunteers (specifically Craig Myers, Bryan Topper and Megan Topper) began concentrating their trash removal efforts in the Noonday Creek and Little River areas, and have been very productive.
A six-month trash study of Noonday Creek was launched Sept. 1, 2020, using a simple containment boom installed. The goal was to collect data, including the trash volume and contents, to determine the best ways to capture and remove the trash.
Other factors studied included water flow – during normal conditions and heavy rainfalls – and debris content, to determine if a simple boom structure is adequate or if other methods are required. Ease, frequency of cleanout, and maintenance issues also were considered.
Initially, Lake Warrior volunteers monitored the trapped litter on a daily basis, and eventually moved to a weekly schedule. More than 40 volunteers were involved, and Megan Topper has documented the volunteers’ findings. For example, Myers reported that when it rained, a bag of trash was collected daily, including hundreds of plastic bottles, Styrofoam, volleyballs, tennis balls and more.
The trash study ended Feb. 28, and volunteers are analyzing the data for a future report. LAA’s long-term goal is to engage cities, counties, communities and individuals within the Allatoona watershed, to help keep the lake clean. Residents of specific communities can sponsor areas near them.
LAA and the Lake Warriors thank Woodstock’s parks and recreation department for constructing and placing an informational sign at the trash study site along the Noonday Creek Trail System off Towne Lake Parkway. The sign and the containment boom have piqued interest from trail users, and some have become volunteer monitors and recorders.
Continued growth within the Lake Allatoona watershed is expected to result in more trash in the lake. A focus on educating individuals, contractors, communities and cities on proper disposal of trash should help the problem. The LAA and Lake Warriors are working to find an economically efficient method of keeping trash from entering Noonday Creek and other tributaries around Allatoona Lake.
By Linda Hartsfield, an LAA board member. She has been retired three years from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after more than 41 years of service.