Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oconee County Cleaners of Rose Creek to Meet March 6

Rose Creek Gets Attention

Individuals interested in cleaning up Rose Creek and Little Rose Creek will gather at 9 a.m. on March 6 at a designated spot yet to be selected in the south of the county before dividing into teams to gather trash from the streams.

Each team will be responsible for a half mile stretch of stream, according to Melissa Steele, 2421 Elder Mill road, organizer of the event.

Rose Creek flows from just south of Watkinsville to the Greene County line, paralleling and just southwest of SR15 most of that way. It flows under historic Elder Mill Bridge and across rocky shoals just beyond the bridge at the site of the Elder Mill itself.

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Little Rose Creek flows parallel to Rose Creek southwest of Elder Mill road and then turns northeast, crosses under Elder Mill road and intersects with Rose Creek near where Steele live.

Despite the popularity of the area around Rose Creek, the wooden covered bridge and the mill, none of the land is in public hands.

Steele said she will obtain permission from the landowners in the area before the teams set out.

All the trash collected will be taken to the 2421 Elder Mill road address where it will be sorted, documented and later transported to appropriate disposal centers.

Steele, an artist, plans to use some of the trash as part of a nature-based art exhibit.

Keep Oconee County Clean and Beautiful Commission is working with Steele on the cleanup. Steele said she is lining up other groups as well.

Steele expects the clean-up to last three to four hours.

The area around Rose Creek near the bridge is heavily used. Many visitors park in a small gravel parking area after crossing the bridge on Elder Mill road after traveling from Watkinsville on SR 15.

A 220-foot path runs from the parking lot to the shoals beneath the bridge.

The trail is across private property, which recently went onto the market and quickly under contract. The status of the path and access to the creek is unclear.

The county has developed plans for a park in the area but has never purchased any of the land for that park. County officials earlier this week said they did not have money available to spend on the property near the bridge when it went on the market because of other commitments of recreational and park funds.

Anyone interested in participating in the clean-up should contact Steele in advance at 706 255 8528 or at mechanted757@gmail.com.

According to Steele, the clean-up will follow the procedures used for Rivers Alive, Georgia's annual volunteer waterway cleanup event. It is held in the fall and targets all waterways in the State including streams, rivers, lakes, beaches and wetlands.

Rivers Alive is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs' Keep Georgia Beautiful Program.

Steele said she is exploring options for where the Rose Creek trash gatherers will meet. She’d like to start the day off with a group breakfast.

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