Volunteers to clean up Moores Creek

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2019

VALLEY — Auburn University Extension is partnering with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, the city of Valley and Lanett, the Chambers County Commission and the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office to clean up trash around Moores Creek Saturday morning.

Starting at 10 a.m., those interested in cleaning up the watershed should meet at Valley City Hall to receive cleaning assignments, cleaning materials and safety vests. Volunteers will then head out in Valley or Lanett to clean trash from the roadways near Moores Creek.

Alex James, watershed coordinator with the Auburn University Extension water quality program, said a watershed is considered any land area that could fall into Moores Creek. She said the creek flows into the Chattahoochee River, which could cause several problems.

“We are very concerned about our water quality for various reasons,” James said.

While Moores Creek isn’t used for drinking water, James said the quality of the water flowing into the river is vital because other municipalities do use the river as a source of drinking water. She also said the water quality of Moores Creek is important for recreational usage.

James, who is also a member of the Moores Creek Project, was involved in testing for E.Coli levels in March. Those tests resulted in low levels of E.Coli throughout Moores Creek, which was important because it seemed to show the water quality is improving.

“It is great to have all that data because it helps us back up what we are doing with the watershed,” she said. “We have to have something to show the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to come back and test to see if water quality is improving.”

ADEM sampled the site in the past and it didn’t meet water quality standards and ended up on the 303(d) impaired waters list for the state, meaning it wasn’t clean water.

Moores Creek covers 18 square miles in Valley, Lanett and Huguley and the project has been awarded another grant for $300,000, she said. The next grant will be a stabilization project for the section of the creek outside of Valley City Hall and a section near the Chambers County Emergency Management Agency building in Lanett.

During that March testing, there was one spot with high levels of E.Coli based on standards by the Environmental Protection Agency, near Fob James Drive on 24th Avenue. James said the project has notified East Alabama Water Authority of the spot so it could conduct an investigation. The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper also pledged to monitor and continually test the spot.

James said the high levels of E. Coli could be due to septic overflow, infrastructure runoff or wildlife or pet waste.

Participants involved in the Watershed Cleanup Saturday will receive a $2 discount to the Chambers County Sheriff’s Rodeo later that night in LaFayette. Volunteers can register online at Chattahoochee.org or email James at alex.james@auburn.edu.