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Rivers Alive 2014 helped clean, educate

More than 40 kayakers, and more volunteers on foot, showed up to help clean up the Yellow River during the annual Rivers Alive cleanup event Saturday.

Saturday morning 1,620 pounds of trash was removed from the Yellow River. The turnout of volunteers was the largest ever, according to Porterdale Public Works Director Robert Witcher.

"The Yellow River Water Trail planned ahead to get local community Rivers Alive volunteers up close and personal to our rivers,” Tonya Bechtler, Director of the Yellow River Water Trail organization said. “Having our team event stationed riverside allowed us to expand our trash pickup to include education and even more partnerships.”

Beryl Budd, a member of the Georgia Forestry Commission provided information about riverbank restoration and fire-wise community education. Adopt-A-Stream coordinator Kevin Sorrow, with the city of Covington, was also on hand educating citizens about the water quality testing program in Newton County.

Michael Wolfe (and John) — volunteers from North America Native Fishes Association (NANFA) — came out to introduce residents on their native fish.

From below the Porterdale Dam in the shoals, volunteers were able to net seven species of fish, including two threatened, along with clams, mussels and even a dobsonfly hellgrammite, within 20 minutes. Both children and adults enjoyed learning this fascinating information.

As the volunteers arrived to check-in and returned with their trash collections, these extra educational programs helped connect everyone even closer to their river to encourage them to enjoy, share and protect.

While Rivers Alive is a yearly program, the goal is to connect everyone to the Yellow River Water Trail for year round recreation and protection.

Rivers Alive 2014 was a day of huge success, a great meal provided by the City of Porterdale and a huge amount of trash removed from the Yellow River.