Moores Creek cleans up watershed in Lanett

Published 7:00 pm Monday, April 8, 2019

LANETT — Mark Stoors is a man who wants to help keep the land beautiful and also wants to be part of civic engagement.

Stoors, of LaGrange, joined the Moores Creek Project Saturday, as volunteers gathered to part of a watershed cleanup to picked up trash and litter near the creek, the roadways, parking lots and sidewalks.

“I just want to help my neighbors out while setting an example for others,” said Stoors, who adopted Vernon Street in LaGrange solely because he wants to take care of the environment. He said he picks up trash on the street every 10 to 14 days.

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Alex James, watershed coordinator at Auburn University Extension, said the watershed is the natural boundary around the creek.

“Everything that falls in the watershed as far as rain or snow will make its way to Moores Creek and eventually the Chattahoochee (River),” she said.

Improving the water quality in Moores Creek is two-fold, James said. First, Moores Creek is on the 303d list for impaired waters by the state, due to excess sedimentation, she said. Additionally, the trash and litter provide a hazardous habitat for animals and fish that live in the creek.

James said even if it is not drinking water, it is municipal water, which can be used in the kitchen sinks of homes to wash dishes or flushing toilets or the intake that processing plants utilize.

“It is really important to keep water quality high, so we can lower cost of treatment, or improve quality of life downstream,” James said.

She said she doesn’t believe the litter buildup comes a malicious intent from people, but trash does build up.

“A lot of times the problems with creeks in urban areas, whether it is trash or sedimentation, a lot of times is that people aren’t thinking of it as a creek,” James said. “It looks like a ditch in some places, so it is more that lack of awareness because it is not at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds.”

The Moores Creek Project is in the second year of its second phase of the project. James said the biggest project in the phase will be restoring the stream in front of Valley City Hall. She said there is so much potential value for the creek because its outside of city hall, and it flows to a park just down the road.

“We hope to restore the water quality but also to improve it from a quality standpoint and aesthetic standpoint can provide a lot of benefit to the community,” James said. “We hope we can play a part in adding to that.”

The Moores Creek Project teamed with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office on the cleanup Saturday. Captain Jason Fuller said the inmate crews usually pick up a lot of trash on the sides of the roads, but they can’t walk across private property to access litter by the creek in many places.

“If it wasn’t for the Moores Creek project and the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, this stuff would continue to go on downstream to the Chattahoochee River and then who knows where it would wind up,” he said.

Fuller said if he came across anything Saturday that he could trace back as part of criminal littering, he would attempt to get a warrant for charges. If a person is caught, they can be charged with criminal littering.