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Drought conditions worsen as lake levels drop throughout Georgia

All of Georgia is officially classified as being in moderate, severe or extreme drought, according to state climatologist David Stooksbury. Conditions across the state have worsened to the point where many counties in north Georgia are now experiencing the extreme conditions that have plagued south Georgia for months.

In his review, Stooksbury noted that this has been one of the hottest summers on record in Georgia. Three months ago, Stooksbury predicted a hotter, and drier, summer than normal, and lower levels at lakes Lanier and Allatoona have confirmed this prediction. Stooksbury expects stream flows, groundwater levels and reservoir levels to continue to drop. (You can download the latest state climatology report here.)

In spite of serious drought conditions, state officials have yet to update the 2003 Drought Management Plan, finalize rules to guide water management during times of drought, or impose temporary emergency measures. Until the state takes action, we all must do our part to conserve.

To learn what you can do to conserve, visit UCR’s "No Time to Waste" page.

Read a recent article on the subject in the AJC here.

UCR opens LaGrange office with ribbon-cutting ceremony

UCR celebrated the official opening of our office in LaGrange with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the office located in the downtown square. The ceremony, sponsored by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, was hosted by UCR Regional Outreach Manager Jill Sistino and included comments by UCR Co-founder J. Rutherford Seydel, Executive Director Sally Bethea and board member (and LaGrange resident) Charles Smith.

The office will help serve as a host site for UCR’s education, outings, and monitoring programs. We were able to open the office thanks in part to support from the Callaway Foundation and Interface, Inc., each of which were represented at the ceremony.

“[Opening this office] is a continuation of [UCR’s] vision for the stewardship and the protection of the river waters, and for the people, and for the wildlife, that depend on these waters,” said Smith.

To get involved in our activities in the West Point Lake region – from events to volunteering – contact Jill Sistino at (706) 882-3701 (office) or via email at jsistino@ucriverkeeper.org. The office is located at 35 South LaFayette Square.

Get your tickets to the 17th Annual Patron Appreciation Dinner!

Tickets are still available for our 17th Annual Patron Appreciation Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at The Foundry at Puritan Mill in Atlanta. (Click here to purchase ticket.)

A reception will be followed by a seated dinner and program honoring the Smith, Gambrell & Russell law firm with our prestigious River Guardian Award, Tom Noonan with our River Benefactor Award, Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited with our River Advocate Award, and Darryl Haddock with West Atlanta Watershed Alliance with our River Partner Award. We will also honor the legacy of one of the river’s most passionate protectors, Gandy Glover.

We thank our sponsors for this event, which also will feature a live and silent auction.

Tickets are $100 per person and include the reception and dinner. The Foundry is located at 916 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., Atlanta, GA, 30318. Valet parking is available. For more info or to become an event sponsor, contact Tammy Bates at tbates@ucriverkeeper.org or (404) 352-9828, ext. 12. (Click here to download a sponsor form for this event.).

Sally Bethea calls for defense of the Clean Water Act on WRFG

Georgians need to be vigilant about attempts to gut the enforcement capabilities of the Clean Water Act, UCR’s Sally Bethea said Tuesday during an appearance on WRFG’s “In Tune to Nature.”

Bethea noted how Riverkeepers are concerned about what has been called the Dirty Water Bill because it would “roll back many of the protections in the Clean Water Act, delegating some things to the states that really should be the purview of the federal government.” The bill, she added, would prevent the federal government from protecting public health and downstream communities throughout the nation. This legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July, is now before the Senate.

“H.R. 2018 is the biggest attack on the Clean Water Act we’ve seen in 15 years,” Bethea said. (For more info, read Bethea’s op-ed here.)

Bethea appeared on the community radio station’s environmental program at the invitation of co-host Dr. Carrie Freeman, a communications professor at Georgia State University. WRFG (89.3 FM) is a 100,0000-watt radio station whose mission is to provide access to broadcast media for those who don’t traditionally have access. “In Tune to Nature” runs from 6:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays.)



Patron Appreciation Dinner, Sept. 15

23rd Annual Lanier Shore Sweep, Sept. 24

Check out our October paddle trips!

WKA Earthshare Georgia Water Coalition