Working to improve the area’s waterways

Published 8:05 pm Friday, January 8, 2010

An organization that hopes to improve the quality of the area’s waterways invites the public to a meeting on Tuesday.

Newton Cloud, a program manager for the Golden Triangle Resource Conservation and Development Council, is hoping members of the public attend Tuesday’s meeting to learn about becoming active in monitoring the quality of water or who may have an erosion problem on their property that is impacting the area’s streams, creeks or rivers.

The meeting will be at the Cloud Livestock Pavilion beginning at 10 a.m. Suzanne Brandt, executive director of Keep Decatur County Beautiful, will speak as well as representatives with Golden Triangle.

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Newton, a Decatur County native who has been a farmer and general contractor, recently joined Golden Triangle to help implement its environmental programs.

Among the programs are to solicit clients within a 10-county area who are part of the Spring Creek Watershed to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs), which are practices that farmers, cities, individuals and others could do to reduce non-point source pollution.

Cloud said some of the biggest pollutants are sediments following into the watershed that in time affects the quality of water within Spring Creek, Flint River and Lake Seminole.

“It’s important to me, born and raised here. I can remember when that lake had no hydrilla in it, and it had no grass on it. It was clear and nice,” Cloud said. “I’d like to see that returned.”

Golden Triangle has more than $600,000 in grant money to assist farmers or others such as builders to pay for ways to cut down on the amount of sediments reaching the area’s waterways.

Another mechanism offered to citizens is an opportunity to monitor the area’s water quality through the Adopt a Stream program.

Citizens who are interested in the Adopt a Stream program volunteer their time, but the state pays for their lodging to take a two-day class to be certified.

“It gives a civilian eye on the creeks and the rivers and streams that we have, other than just a state bureaucracy looking at it. We have input back into it because we live here,” Cloud said. “That kind of helps form an opinion back in Atlanta where we can have a better voice.”