FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WWALS receives grant for water conservation outreach to farmers and community (PDF)
Hahira, Georgia; December 27, 2016 — Local water conservation group WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) has received a grant of $6,000 from the Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) to help groups in towns, counties, and countryside to draw the big picture of watershed conservation, as well as to help organize at least one grant from a different source to assist at least one farmer in erosion control.
The award contract of November 11, 2016, says the funds are “To support ongoing work of engaging farmers, chambers of commerce, tourism groups, scouts, churches, legislators, and others in conserving clean and abundant water through quarterly public meetings and support the goals of the Georgia Water Coalition.” In October WWALS held a first quarterly public meeting, about Valdosta wastewater fixes and flood prevention plans. This grant will assist WWALS in holding another meeting, more focused on outreach. This will build on recent WWALS visits with Boy and Girl Scouts at Reed Bingham State Park’s Trunk or Treat, with Lowndes County Boy Scouts, and on our recent tables and presentations at the Alapaha Station Celebration, the Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority, the Cook, Brooks, and Colquitt County Commissions, and the Hahira Historical Society.
“For example, a Scout project could be building a kiosk for a landing on one of our water trails on the Alapaha River or the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers,” said John S. Quarterman, WWALS president.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation provided a larger grant sum to the Georgia Water Coalition for redistribution to some GWC organizational partners, such as WWALS. The Georgia Water Coalition is “a group of more than 230 organizations representing well over a quarter of a million Georgians.”
Sometimes on river outings we have to portage over sand bars that seem to be more than normal silting.
Aerial pictures often show sources of runoff in agricultural fields, so we added the second goal of the grant: for WWALS to help secure at least one EQIP grant to a local farmer to stop runoff and keep silt and pesticides out of waterways and wells. EQIP is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which “provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, or improved or created wildlife habitat.” EQIP is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia. Other states have EQIP, too, but this GWC grant is about helping arrange an EQIP grant for at least one Georgia farmer to prevent river or well silting.
About WWALS: Incorporated in June 2012 by local people, WWALS Watershed Coalition is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity and the Waterkeeper® Alliance Affiliate for the upper Suwannee River Basin. WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Upper Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities.
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!