Saturday, November 16, 2013

Volunteers Collect 1,500 Pounds Of Trash On Oconee County Side of McNutt Creek

Fifty-one volunteers this morning collected and hauled out an estimated 1,500 pounds of trash from the Oconee County side of McNutt Creek in a small area near the Macon Highway bridge over the creek.

The volunteers were recruited and organized by the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission as part of the state Rivers Alive Cleanup, a program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division.

Collected Garbage

The volunteers, including a large number of Boy Scouts from Troop 65 in Snellville, picked up trash beneath and around the bridge and for about a quarter mile upstream to where Barber Creek joins with McNutt Creek.

The collected materials included 19 trash bags of recyclables, 15 trash bags of simple litter and refuse, 15 tires, and about 150 pounds of loose materials.

KOCB Organizers

Chris Cotton, a member of the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission, organized the event.

Cotton, KOCB Executive Director Angela Helwig and Mary Mellein, Commission chair, stayed after most of the volunteers left and sorted and tabulated the results of the cleanup effort.

Chris Cotton (Left), Angela Helwig,
(Back To Camera) At Registration

Cotton gave me the tallies late this afternoon in a telephone call.

The cleanup started about 10 a.m. after registration and an orientation and ended about 12:30 p.m.

Native Fishes On Display

Michael Wolfe, 1060 Fox Hollow Court and a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Native Fishes Association, gave a demonstration of the aquatic life of McNutt Creek before the volunteers set out to gather trash.

Wolfe told me he and two colleagues spent about an hour before the event collecting the fish from a pool under the bridge using a variety of nets. They displayed the fish in an aquarium near the registration table.

Fish From Creek,
Turquoise Darter In Inset

(Click on this and other pictures to enlarge them.)

Their take included 14 native species, including the Altahama Shiner, which is endangered. It does not live anywhere else in the world except in the Oconee, Ocmulgee and Altamaha rivers, according to Wolfe.

Wolfe returned the fish to McNutt Creek at the end of the event.

Apalachee Usual Site

KOCB has been participating in the statewide Rivers Alive program for a number of years. Its usual site is the Apalachee River at the U.S. 78 bridge.

Because of construction of a new bridge at that site, the group opted to hold this year’s event at McNutt Creek, which forms part of the border of Oconee and Clarke counties.

Cotton said, given the size of the group that turned out this year, KOCB might consider doing both sites next year.

Dam At Old Mill

The volunteers today worked in groups, separating recyclable materials from general trash and logging details on what was collected. I was one of the volunteers.

Those collection records as well as the tallies of estimated weight will be turned in to the DNR, Cotton said.

Falls Of Oconee

The primary collection area was below and just above an old mill pond, opposite the abandoned mill on the Clarke County side of McNutt Creek.

Whitworth Land Company of Athens has released plans of a development on property running to the creek and is calling the project The Falls Of Oconee. The water falls is created as water flows over the old, stone mill pond dam.

Sign For The Falls Of Oconee

The project will serve the Athens Ridge student housing complex under construction across Macon Highway from the Whitworth project.

Athens Ridge

Construction was underway on that project, today, with crews blocking parts of Old Macon Highway at times at the entrance to the complex.

1 comment:

Beanne said...

I very much appreciate the work of these dedicated volunteers. Hard to believe this area needs more student housing.