Protecting the Flint River - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Protecting the Flint River

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June 4, 2005

Albany- There were several variety of turtles and a baby alligator, all creatures that can be found along South Georgia's rivers and streams. They were out of their element in Riverfront park in an effort to teach both adults and children the importance of protecting Albany's resources.

"Snakes play a very useful role in the environment, and unfortunately when this one was seen everybody was yelling moccasin, moccasin, and I walked over and knew what it was. The main thing is just stay away from the snakes and you won't get bitten," said Doug Nobel of the Flint Riverquarium.

The hog nose snake, found its way to the entrance of the Riverquarium, but wildlife officials say killing snakes like these does more harm than good.

"If you're out in the wood and you see a venomous snake, then you're in his habitat and you should just leave it alone, everything serves a purpose," said Chet Powell of the DNR.

While it's important to preserve Albany's wild animals, it's also important to preserve their habitats that include land along the Flint River.

"A vegetative corridor helps with water quality, vegetation filters out pollutants and retains a higher quality of water either for drinking water or for wildlife habitat," said Kate Kirkman, of the Joseph Jones Ecological Research Center.

That's why the Joseph Jones Ecological Research Center is concerned with preserving the land along the Flint. Researchers say it's important for the land to remain undeveloped and for the water to be protected.

"We have to control run off into the stream and be careful that we don't put too much waste into the stream that it can't assimilate naturally." Woody Hicks, Hydrologist.

They're hoping with events like the Water Summit people will see what a great resource the Flint River is, not just for clean water, but for recreation.

"It's great to fish, clean water, opportunities to canoe and boating and I just don't think people use it like we should," said Hicks.

"Having safe and assessable ways for the public to get to the river is very important just in terms of getting people to appreciate what we have here in Albany," said Kirkman.

They're hoping that appreciation will lead more people to protect those resources and all of the animals that call the river home.

The Southwest Georgia Water Resources Task Force is made up of volunteers. Members encourage residents to become involved in both talks and planning efforts when it comes to the water quality in Southwest Georgia.

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