Green River Watershed Alliance seeks partners from community

Published 5:44 pm Thursday, March 1, 2012

This photograph shows trash floating through a section of Lake Adger after a heavy rain event in September 2009. Green River Watershed Alliance said while pictures like this grab people’s attention because of the large items of trash, the increase of sediment in waterways is also just as damaging. The Green River Watershed Alliance hopes to educate the community about affects of erosion and sedimentation on our waterways and get community members involved in cleaning and keeping area water sources clean. (photo submitted by Mike Smith)

Green River Watershed Alliance (GRWA) co-founders Sky Conard and Jamie Davidson met with a group of concerned citizens Thursday, Feb. 23 about efforts the organization is making to protect the Green River Watershed.
“The GRWA believes there is a renaissance afoot of people valuing and paying attention to our earth’s most important natural asset – fresh water. Citizens here have a unique opportunity to stand and participate in this watershed initiative of protecting our valuable Green River and Lake Adger reservoir,” Conard said. “Your voice matters because these waters have none….”
About 30 community members gathered in the Polk County Library community room to learn more about the organization and what its efforts would entail.
GRWA’s mission statement reads: “The purpose of this citizen-led organization is to address the need to build a collaborative environmentally protective plan for our Green River Watershed. The Green River Watershed Alliance will promote clean water, responsible stewardship, and sustainability of this valuable natural resource. This alliance will work toward restoring and protecting the riparian buffer and stabilizing eroding streams, banks and shorelines for the purpose of improving water quality, reducing sedimentation pollution and enhancing the plant, animal and fish habitats.”
A total of 87,470 acres makes up the Green River Watershed – 36,825 acres exist in Polk County, while Henderson has 50,645 acres. The state, Conard said, monitors only 190 miles of the 268 stream miles considered part of the watershed. Conard also said many of the studies currently available are five or more years old. Another basin-wide study of the Broad River Basin, of which the Green River Watershed is a part, will not be done again until 2013.
“That’s why it’s so important that we as citizens jump in because there are not enough of them and not enough of a budget,” Conard said. “So, that’s why we have to step in and monitor our waterways.”
Community members have not ignored the problem before now but have organized only the initial steps of trying to rid the waterways of debris and trash. About three dozen volunteers gather in early October every year to assist in the Big Sweep, a nationwide event aimed at cleaning up streams, ponds, lakes and other waterways.