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Patron Dinner honors advocates, raises $167,000 for our river programs!

UCR honored some of our most passionate river advocates at the 17th Annual Patron Appreciation Dinner held Sept. 15 at The Foundry at Puritan Mill in Atlanta. With 350 guests in attendance, UCR honored the Smith, Gambrell & Russell law firm with our prestigious River Guardian Award (pictured) for legal representation that has led to key victories for the river. (Watch the video here.)

JouleX CEO/President Tom Noonan, whose support of UCR's strategic communications programs includes our Tapped Out presentation, received our River Benefactor Award. Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited, which collaborated with UCR in our inaugural Sweep the Hooch cleanup this past spring, received our River Advocate Award. Darryl Haddock, Environmental Education Director with West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, was honored with our River Partner Award. Sally Bethea honored the late Gandy Glover with our Legacy Recognition Award, which was presented to his brothers Peter and Taylor Glover. (Read her comments here.)

We raised $167,000 for our river protection programs, including $8,000 for our Floating Classroom. UCR partners with the Elachee Nature Science Center to educate school children about our watershed. Check out the photos from the evening on our Facebook fan page here (and if you haven't already, "Like" us!).

Judge hears arguments in appeal of Forsyth County's sewage permit decision

On Sept. 8, UCR argued before Chief Judge Jeffrey Bagley of the Superior Court of Forsyth County to defend the legal victory we achieved earlier this summer in our appeal of a wastewater discharge permit issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to Forsyth County for its new Fowler/Shakerag facility. In a June 1 decision, Administrative Law Judge Kristin Miller found that the permit issued by EPD would degrade the water quality in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and ordered EPD to reissue the permit with more stringent limits for phosphorous and bacteria.

Forsyth County and EPD have appealed, and a decision from Judge Bagley is expected by Oct. 10. In addition to appealing Judge Miller’s decision, the EPD, with support from the county, is proposing to rewrite and weaken the state water quality standard that is the basis of our appeal — the antidegradation rule. Now through Oct. 27, EPD is accepting public comment on the draft antidegradation rule.

Stay tuned for more information soon, as UCR will soon be calling for your help in opposing any weakening of the state’s water quality standards.

Upcoming Rain Barrel Workshops help conserve water during the dry seasons

Lower water levels at Lake Lanier and West Point Lake once again underscore the need for Georgians to observe the water conservation strategies UCR has promoted for years. UCR’s Rain Barrel Workshop program is a great way to harvest rainwater to compensate for those no-rain days. Started in 2009 and conducted by Headwaters Outreach Manager Bonny Putney, our program receives 60-gallon syrup drums from the Coca-Cola Company that workshop participants convert to rain barrels.

Our next workshop will be held Sept. 28 at the Bethwell Community Center (2695 Hopewell Road, Milton). Presented by Milton Grows Green and UCR, this workshop educates participants on how to save water in the home and garden and how to maintain and install rain barrel. The cost is $35 and includes the rain barrel. The event runs from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. For info contact Richard Kinzel at rkinzel@comcast.net or 770-485-2222.

Learn more about our Rain Barrel Workshop program here

Alabama, Florida ponder next move following appeals court decision

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected a request from Alabama and Florida to revisit a ruling from a three-judge panel that sided with metro Atlanta in a dispute over access to Lanier for water supply. The ruling left Alabama and Florida to consider their next options, and early indications are the case could head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier this week, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.

"That would be fully expected," Kelly Randall, Gainesville's public utilities director, told the Gainesville Times. "I would expect all of those folks — Alabama, Florida, the power customers — to do that. That's the next step.

"But I don't know why one would think the Supreme Court would hear the case if the circuit court decided not to, but I'll guess we'll just have to wait and see."

Read the AJC article here.

Read the Gainesville Times article here.

SEPTEMBER 22, 2011


23rd Annual Lanier Shore Sweep, Sept. 24

Kids Fishing Event, Sept. 24

Rain Barrel Workshop, Sept. 28

Paddle Trip (Wildwood Outfitters to Belton Bridge), Oct. 1

Hemlock Fest, Nov. 4-6

Riverview Landing Fall Fest, Nov. 5

WKA Earthshare Georgia Water Coalition