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Contact: Nancy Poe, Chief of Resource Education, 678-538-1241
It was only one month ago that the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area publicly announced the ending of a vital program, BacteriALERT. Over the past three years, the program has been on the decline due to lack of funding. What once was a daily water sampling of the river has moved to three times a week and soon was going to end all together.
A special thanks to the Trust for Public Land Chattahoochee River Land Campaign (TPL) for donating $10,000 to help sustain the program through the end of the fiscal year. This is the third year that TPL has donated to the program, reaching a total contribution of $30,000.
Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation working to protect land and waterways for human enjoyment and well-being. The Chattahoochee River Land Protection Campaign was started in the mid 1990's. The goal of the campaign is to protect central Georgia's drinking water and provide recreational opportunities by creating a 180-mile greenway along the banks of the Chattahoochee- a greenway that would stretch from Helen to Lake Lanier to Columbus, Georgia.
To date, more than $160,000,000 has been raised for the Chattahoochee River Protection Initiative and over 70 miles have been protected along the river, representing over 48 separate land acquisition transactions and 13,280 acres. Added to previously existing parkland, over 146 miles of riverbank are now preserved.
The BacteriALERT program, a partnership program with United States Geological Survey (USGS), Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, and the Environmental Protection Division (EPD), is designed to provide information to the public on river quality. The yellow signs placed in the park are flipped open and websites updated when the levels of bacteria are high. Potential river users may then use this information to make informed decisions as to the location or what type of recreation they or their families wish to partake. The fisherman, boaters, and paddlers especially, have expressed significant interest and appreciation with the program. "Informed decisions assist visitors in having a safe visit to Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, stated Superintendent Kevin Cheri. Without additional financial support, this very important program will no longer be available to serve park visitors."
For more information or to show your support on the BacteriALERT program, please contact the park at 678-538-1200.