Get Your Copy of the “Etowah River User’s Guide” TODAY

The first in a series of Georgia River Network Guidebooks, the “Etowah River User’s Guide,” authored by Joe Cook and published in cooperation with Coosa River Basin Initiative, is an appealing and handy look at the biologically diverse and beautiful Etowah River in North Georgia. Printed on waterproof paper by the University of Georgia Press, the book offers a fascinating history of the area and information valuable for novice or experienced paddlers as well as fishermen. It also will help explorers understand the threats facing the river and what steps can be taken to protect it for future generations.  

If you purchase your copy directly from GRN, a portion of the proceeds benefit our river conservation work. To order online, go HERE. To place a pick-up order, call 706-549-4508 or come by the Georgia River Network office. Price: $21 including tax, $24 including tax and shipping.  Joe Cook is the author of the Georgia River Network Guidebook series published by the UGA Press, is coordinator of Georgia River Network’s Paddle Georgia Event, and on staff at the Coosa River Basin Initiative.

Also available, Chattahoochee River User's GuideBroad River User's Guide, and Flint River User's Guide

Georgia River Network / Turner Foundation Grants

2013 Grantees

Thanks to support from the Turner Foundation, Georgia River Network was able to re-grant funds to grassroots groups protecting Georgia’s rivers. Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

Eight applications totaling $72,966 were received. Five grantees were awarded a total of $40,000.

1. Altamaha Riverkeeper ($7,500)

To continue work to improve the revised NPDES waste water permit for Rayonier.

2. Chattooga Conservancy ($10,000)

To launch a Get the Dirt Out of Stekoa Creek campaign.


3. Coosa River Basin Initiative ($10,000)

To analyze local water conservation efforts, monitor land devlopment and water supply development, and establish a fish monitoring program.

4. Ogeechee Riverkeeper ($7,500)

To appeal King America Finishing’s permit, if issued as written, and continue the Clean Water Act citizen’s suit against King America Finishing.

5.  West Atlanta Watershed Alliance ($5,000) 

To engage citizens in creating an environmental justice analysis of environmental and community health conditions in the Proctor Creek Watershed.

Mini Paddle Georgia 2013 Map/Points of Interest


Mile 306--Devil’s Racecourse Shoals—This ¼-mile stretch of shoals and rapids is the gateway to the Palisades. After the I-285 Bridge keep right. At the first sight of shoals, move to river right (toward apartment complex). Here the main current of the river will carry you through a playful shoal with a moderate ledge. Once through this obstacle, work your way toward the middle of the river where rock shoals on either side force the river into a narrow channel. Paddle through and enjoy the ride. Once through, ferry to river left to maneuver through the final set of fast-moving water (avoid the slower moving water at river right—you’ll get stuck in shallows).
Mile 305--Thornton Shoals—Beyond the “Diving Rock” at Palisades, another set of shoals blocks the river forcing the main current far river right. Once through the initial shoals, ferry to far river left through a second set of gentle shoals. Shallow shoals are to river right.

 Restroom Facilities and Points of Interest:
Mile 310 Johnson’s Ferry (put in)
Mile 308 Powers Ferry
Mile 305 Palisades
Mile 304 Paces Mill (take out)

Mile 306—Devil’s Racecourse Shoals—Supposedly boatmen during the 1800s blasted out some of the rock shoals here to create a more navigable river channel. The place got its name from these early travelers who considered getting through this obstacle “the devil.”
Mile 305—Palisades—Perhaps the most scenic spot on the Chattahoochee’s course through Georgia, the high granite cliffs of the Palisades are a result of the Brevard Fault, a geographic fault line that the Chattahoochee follows some 100 miles.  An overhanging rock known as “Diving Rock” is a popular spot for taking a thrilling leap into the river. A short trail opposite the Diving Rock leads from a sandy beach to restrooms.
Mile 304—Indian Cave—With some searching, you can find this unique geological feature used by Native Americans as a shelter. Beach your boat on the left shore of the river anywhere between Palisades and Long Island. Just downriver from the Palisades’ cliffs, less than ¼-mile from the shore. An unmarked trail system leads along the river and back into the woods to the cave.

This stretch of river takes you through the crown jewel of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA)—the Palisades. During the early 1970s, protection of this spot in its natural state was the cause that rallied a small group of activists in the Atlanta area and ultimately led to the creation of the National Recreation Area. Spotting zoning notices along the river corridor, concerned citizens began investigating and found that both Fulton and Cobb counties had plans to run sewer lines along the river. Fulton County’s plan called for a ledge to be blasted out of the Palisades’ cliffs to accommodate the pipes. The River Rats, or Friends of the River as they were formally called, were successful in stopping the Fulton County line, preserving the Palisades as a state park and passing the 1973 Metropolitan River Protection Act. This state law established a 2,000 foot corridor on either side of the river in which development is allowed but restricted. During debates in US Congress over creation of the CRNRA, one Georgia congressman said the park would only provide refuge for “hooligans, drug users and nudists.” We suppose he was partly right. Today, the CRNRA attracts 3 million users each year. Keep your clothes on!!!!!!

Keeping Volunteers

Question: Our organization relies  a lot on the help of volunteers to get things done. And we have had some really great volunteers over the years—the problem is they don’t usually stay very long.  But we want them to! Any tips on keeping the good volunteers we find?

Answer: Good question! Volunteers can be your organization’s bread and butter if you play your cards right. The problem seems usually to be that they’re busy people, and since they’re not being paid to work for your organization’s mission, they have to do it because they’re getting something out of it, whether it’s a fun time socializing or the sense that what they’re doing is making a big difference to the river they care about.
Here are some tips for keeping volunteers happy and feeling motivated:

•    Give Them Your Time:
When someone asks if they can help, sometimes our instinct is to say, “YES!” and dump the stuffing of 700 envelopes on them and then run out to do some errands.  But considering you’d be the person stuffing those envelopes if the volunteer wasn’t there, take some time to sit down and help them, ask them questions about what they’re interested in, answer questions they have about the organization’s work.  This can serve you in a couple ways: they’ll feel appreciated and accepted, and you can find out more about their skill set so next time they come in, maybe you’ll pair them with a job they’ll be especially good at.

•    Give Them Information:
Tell a volunteer why they’re doing the job you’ve tasked them with, and a little about how it fits into the work of the organization.  For instance, if they’re taking pictures at an event, tell them how you’re going to use the pictures and why they’re important to you. They’ll do a better job if they know why they’re doing it!

Similarly, it’s a good idea to set them up for success by telling them what’s expected of them. If what you need from them is punctuality, confidentiality, or efficiency, it’s okay to let them know up front.  The more information you can give them about what you need, the fewer awkward conversations you have to have later when they’re not quite meeting your expectations.

•    Give Them Respect:
I know, it’s obvious.  But volunteers like to be thanked and acknowledged for the work they do, as well as to feel you respect and appreciate the time and energy they put into your organization. This can be accomplished by a simple “thank you,” but always be thinking of ways you can acknowledge them with an award—or if they’re the shy type, just a lunch or a coffee or small gift. Ask how things are going for them, listen to their opinions about how things could be done, etc.

In addition, make sure you really are respecting their time.  If you asked them to come in for an hour, let them know when their hour is up.  You and your volunteer are investing time in each other, and with any luck, your relationship will be a long, productive one.

Good luck!

FAQ: Monitoring and Collecting Data for EPD

There are more than 70,000 miles of streams, 425,000 acres of reservoirs and lakes, 400,000 acres of coastal marshlands, and 4.5 million acres of freshwater wetlands in Georgia.  To monitor all of these waters would require an army.  And an army is not what Georgia's Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has.  That's where you come in.

EPD has issued a Request for Data for Use in Georgia's 2014 305(b)/303(d) List of Waters.  EPD is required by the Clean Water Act to assemble a list of creeks, streams, rivers and lakes that do not meet water quality standards.  EPD also uses the list--which is created every two years--to target areas for restoration and to remove water bodies from the list (de-list) where water quality has improved.

If your watershed organization or group has an approved Sampling and Quality Assurance Plan (SQAP), please consider submitting your data to EPD.  If your organization or group does not have an SQAP, than EPD cannot accept any of your data (unless the data and collection meet all of the SQAP requirements).  For example, even if you have been trained by Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) and you know how to monitor and contribute data to AAS's database you data cannot be accepted.  However, AAS data is an incredibly valuable screening tool for EPD staff.  For example, EPD recently used AAS data to identify and add half-a-dozen sites to EPD's annual sampling.

Do not despair.  In fact, mobilize!  Your organization should consider establishing a SQAP, (particularly if you are involved with a 319 grant project).  Why?  Because demonstrating to EPD that your beloved creek, stream, river, cove or other water body does not meet water quality standards is the first step toward fixing any problem.  But get organized - the SQAP must be in place at least fifteen months prior to EPD's deadline: so monitoring must begin by spring 2014 to meet the summer 2015 deadline for data collection request for the 2016 List of Waters.

Questions? Email Chris Manganiello at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..