July - September 2015 Newsletter
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New Adopt-A-Stream Groups

Wofford College


Senior Project

Team Clean Water Power


SHS Senior Project

The Kenilworth Lake Effects

Starship Enterprise

Athens Tech Biotech Club

Shadow Lake





Poole Family

Yellow River Water Trail-Gwinnett

Garden Cove Larry

Flamingo Island Rats

Nancy's Pier

Sope Creek Sentry

Long Key State Park

Grifflding Aitch-Twenty



The New School

MSP - Middle Georgia RESA

Lyster's class

Georgia Southern University Freshwater Ecology Lab

The Ford Plantation

Garden Cove Residental/Commercial Fishing Canal

Crescent Cougars

Spartanburg Day School

Indian Waterways

Golden Isles FFA


Sam Alcovy

John Keiler

River Water Watchers



Sandy Creek High School Adopt-A-Stream

River Hacks

The Seigla Family

Team Moore

Riffles Around Us: Check these out!

Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia Conference
March 4-5, 2016
Environmental & Heritage Center, Buford

Adopt-A-Stream Confluence
March 11-12, 2016
Environmental & Heritage Center, Buford

National Water Quality Monitoring Conference
May 2-6, 2016 in Tampa, FL

Article: Monitoring the Gulfs
Visit our online calendar for monitoring workshops and AAS events!

If you’d like to become an AAS trainer, please contact the State Office for workshop information.
Riffles Around Us: Check these out!

Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia Conference
March 4-5, 2016
Environmental & Heritage Center, Buford

Adopt-A-Stream Confluence
March 11-12, 2016
Environmental & Heritage Center, Buford

National Water Quality Monitoring Conference
May 2-6, 2016 in Tampa, FL

Article: Monitoring the Gulfs
Visit our online calendar for monitoring workshops and AAS events!

If you’d like to become an AAS trainer, please contact the State Office for workshop information.
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July - September 2015
Newsletter at a Glance

The full version of the newsletter is available on the Adopt-A-Stream website.

Paddle Georgia 2015: The Ogeechee River
Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman, Watershed Outreach Coordinator at Ogeechee Riverkeeper We had such an incredible time sharing our beloved Ogeechee River with over 400 paddling enthusiasts during Paddle Georgia 2015. This remote river exists as one of the few remaining free-flowing rivers in our nation, and paddlers were quick to extol its beautiful and wild nature. We can’t help but agree. The Ogeechee River is a remarkable waterway teeming with wildlife. Its unconstrained flow carves out an ever-changing channel through bottomland swamps, as each winter’s flooding drains slowly to the Atlantic Ocean just south of Savannah, GA. Ogeechee Riverkeeper exists to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of this pristine waterway and its tributaries through responsible policy work, education, and scientific monitoring. Read more.
Ruth Mead, Senior Environmental Educator at Phinizy Center for Water Sciences, AAS Board Member and Trainer, and Project WET Facilitator Having been on several Paddle Georgia trips before, I jumped at the opportunity to be both an AAS trainer and WET facilitator on the trip down the majestic Ogeechee. How brave of Georgia River Network (GRN) to offer the Ogeechee as a week paddle as her waters can run some ten feet higher in winter and crash to levels almost non-navigable in the dry summer months.  But no one would be disappointed – the water level was perfect and the beauty of the watershed offered a rewarding experience. Read More.

Ogeechee River Monitoring Results As the AAS monitoring teams paddled down 95 miles of the Ogeechee, we sampled twenty-four sites along the mainstem as well as twelve tributaries that flow into the river. We monitored for AAS’ core chemical parameters (water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and conductivity) as well as turbidity and E.coli levels. EPD’s Ambient Monitoring Unit sampled for additional parameters including total hardness and metal concentrations. 

A first step to understanding the data is to reference the State of Georgia’s surface water quality standards or recommended levels for certain parameters. You can find these standards online from EPD: We found consistent, expected results for the mainstem throughout the paddle with greater variability in the tributaries. Lead was detected but not at levels that are a cause for concern. More frequent sampling would be welcomed along the Ogeechee to gather a solid base of background levels in this watershed. Contact the Ogeechee Riverkeeper if you are interested!

Thank you to all the paddlers who participated in our volunteer workshop! We had around 35 people learn how to use AAS methods to monitor water chemistry. Also, a big thanks to the trainers and monitoring team for making this such a fun and effective trip! Paddling through the overhanging willows and white sand beaches, we heard many people exclaim, “This is the cleanest river we’ve ever paddled!” After monitoring the 95 mile stretch of the Ogeechee, we can confirm, as we did in the nightly water quality updates—there’s not much to report, and that’s a good thing!
Check out the data.

Highlighting Adopt-A-Stream on the Coast

In the 1990s, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream initiated volunteer monitoring activities on the coast of Georgia through a partnership with Savannah State University. In the 2000s, the UGA Marine Extension Service (MAREX) received grants to promote coastal monitoring and partnered with AAS to grow the coastal monitoring presence. The MAREX program was called Coastal Georgia Adopt-A-Wetland and it included biological and chemical monitoring. This program also produced the Coastal Georgia Adopt-A-Wetland manual, an excellent resource for those monitoring salt water systems. 

Over the years, funding for a coastal coordinator position has waxed and waned, and right now the region is experiencing a prolonged dry spell. Still, as highlighted throughout this newsletter, other leaders have stepped forward to provide support of coastal monitoring activities. Although we all agree that there is no substitute for a single coordinator to unify the region, we wish to recognize these local coordinators in filling the gaps by providing water monitoring support throughout the 11 county coastal region. The coast of Georgia has always had some of the strongest monitoring programs in the State, with many coastal groups having monitored for five, ten and more years. The loyalty of these citizen scientists is doubly impressive when you consider the number of coastal coordinators that have come and gone. Georgia Adopt-A-Stream is excited to be able to provide continued support for coastal monitoring activities and we applaud the efforts of these monitors as they provide valuable data on the health and conditions of our coastal waters. 

Blake Caldwell and Obby Tapley, Peregrine Marsh Gang Volunteers and AAS Trainers We got involved with Georgia Adopt-A-Stream when Obby saw an announcement in the Savannah Morning News that the program was looking for volunteers. We contacted Mary Sweeney-Reeves at the Marine Extension Center on Skidaway Island and she encouraged us to establish a monitoring group. Obby contacted a group of friends to participate as volunteers and we started the Peregrine Marsh Gang. Mary helped us select a monitoring site on the Wilmington River and trained us in both chemical and bacterial procedures. We have been dedicated ever since our first monitoring event on March 16, 2003 and have only missed one month in over 12 years. Read more.
Ashby Nix, Satilla Riverkeeper With my past experience in water quality analysis, and as the new Satilla Riverkeeper, I knew the importance of monitoring water quality in our watershed. In reviewing Adopt-A-Stream sites, I realized what a large gap there was in monitoring efforts in the Satilla River watershed and knew that is an important role we could serve - to not only monitor our waters regularly, but to increase the number of volunteer monitors in the region to help improve our watershed and waters for the public. Read more.
Mary Freund,  Watershed Outreach Coordinator at Satilla Riverkeeper I got involved with Georgia Adopt-A-Stream in January of 2014 through the encouragement of my aquatics biology professor, Jan Mackinnon, who also serves on the Adopt-A-Stream Advisory Board. I attended a coastal chemical monitoring workshop at the Coastal Resources Division, where I met Ashby Nix, Satilla Riverkeeper Director. I started volunteering for Satilla Riverkeeper and adopted a site on the Satilla River in my hometown of Woodbine, Georgia. Read more.
Jessica Warren, Camden County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent My involvement with Adopt-A-Stream and Rivers Alive began when I took a position as a Program Assistant in the EPD State Office between undergraduate and graduate school in early 2008. When I moved back to Georgia in 2013 to take a position as the Camden County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, I knew that Adopt-A-Stream would be a natural fit for my program. Working in a coastal county with miles of salt marsh habitat, water quality issues are exceptionally important. Our marsh health affects citizens far beyond the borders of our county, in addition to affecting our local fisheries, tourism, and ecological health. Read more.

Second Annual Water Science Student Poster Competition 

The annual event provides an opportunity for stud
ents to share water science research projects, receive recognition and interact with peers and professionals in the field. Selected entries will present at the AAS annual volunteer conference on March 11-12, 2016. 

CASH PRIZES for winners!
Graduate College
Undergraduate College
High School (9-12th grades)

Submit Abstracts by:
January 15, 2016

Competition Guidelines and Abstract Submission Form on the Student Poster Competition page of the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream website 


Announcing 2015 AAS Awards

Recognize an exceptional volunteer, watershed group or trainer in your community! 
Volunteer Awards
Volunteer of the Year
Extraordinary Watershed Monitoring
Red Flag Award
Outstanding Outreach and Partnership
Adopt-A-Stream Multimedia Award
Excellence in Data Collection
Nymph Award
Beyond Borders

Trainer Awards
Trainer of the Year
New Trainer of the Year

Watershed Awards
Local public utilities, government agencies, regional commissions, nonprofits and watershed organizations  
Nomination Deadline: January 15, 2016
More information on award categories and nominations at
the AAS Awards Nomination page on the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream website

Our mailing address is:
Georgia Environmental Protection Division
2 MLK Jr. Dr.
Suite 1462 East
Atlanta, GA 30334

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