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NFC: NFC Conservation Project please read

Our Proposed Nature Conservancy /NFC partnership project please feel free
to add input.

Here some info for you on the Conasauga River and it's Alliance.

The Conasauga River flows undamed for over 100 miles before it joins the
Coosawattee to form the Oostanaula river. It is part of the
Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa river system. The watershed flows through
various geographies creating much diversity. The watershed hosts some 90
species of fish, 75 of which are native to the area. Some of these
species include Blue Shiner, Conasauga Logperch, and Amber Darter, all
are listed as threatened or endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife. The
Conasauga is also host to some 25 species of freshwater mussels.
Recently two species were found that had once been thought of as
Some of the threats to the area include sedimentation, nutrient
overloading, habitat destruction, and dewatering. These threats come
from many sources, which include agriculture, residential development,
and industry. This region is known as the carpet capital of the world.
The industry supplies some two-thirds of the worlds carpet. This
industry relies heavily on the Conasauga for water to be used in the
dying process. Growth from a wealth of employment has push residential
development well into the northern farmland sections of the watershed.
With a large increase in drinking wells and septic tanks the Conasauga
is seeing large impacts. Another problem with this unregulated growth is
the slow removal of farmland in the area. Lack of farmland protection
and estate planning is forcing families to sell there farms to
developers. Argiculture is a large part of the middle sections of the
Conasauga. poultry and row cropping are the two largest agricultural
practices. This type of work threatens the Conasauga with nutrients and
toxic chemicals.
So where does the Alliance come into the picture? In 1995, the Limestone
Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council secured a grant
from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to study the river. This
“ecosystem-based assistance project” encouraged local citizens to
provide input on the challenges facing the Conasauga River watershed.
Local citizens also helped develop
strategies to address these concerns.
To implement these strategies, local citizens, conservation groups,
businesses, and
government agencies joined together to create the Conasauga River
Alliance.  This
cooperative effort includes an ever-growing number of local citizens,
several conservation groups, and over a dozen federal, state, and local
agencies. Current projects include:
Ž planting ‘buffers’ of trees and grasses to help stabilize
streambanks, shade streams, and filter   run-off from upland areas;
Ž organizing workshops and field trips to promote best management
practices for
agriculture, residential development, forestry, and industry;
Ž collecting and sharing scientific data on the health of the river;
Ž providing technical and financial assistance to improve wildlife
Ž sponsoring spring and fall river clean-ups; and
Ž providing signs to recognize people and companies that practice
“river-friendly” land management.
Through these and other cooperative efforts, the Conasauga River
Alliance is taking
the first steps to achieve its vision of maintaining “a clean and
beautiful Conasauga River – forever.”
More recently we have worked to helped the Tennessee Aquarium and the
Southeast Aquatic Research Institute to release over 900 captively
raised freshwater mussels. We have also had meetings with the Forest
Service Chief in Washington D.C. to discuss how theForest Service has
and can work within the community to help protect the Conasauga. And our
latest effort has been to help with the estasblishment of a 5000 sq.ft
education center for the surrounding counties. This center will house
the Alliance and a teacher for the center. Currently our office employs
two, Shawn Clouse and Rick Guffey, both of which are employees of the
Nature Conservancy.
This a very broad over view of what the Alliance and its partners have
done and are trying to accomplish. If you have any questions or want to
learn about anything specificly please call us at XXXXXX 
Also you
can look at the temporary Alliance website at
www.geocities.com/conasaugah2o, or find information at www.tnc.org and
look at the Georgia section, and finanly at www.freshwaters.org.

Also here is our list of partners:
Chattahoochee National Forest
Chattahoochee Sportsmen’s Club
Cherokee National Forest
Cohutta Springs Conference Center
Conasauga Watershed Adopt-A-Stream
Dalton State College
Dalton Utilities
GA Department of Natural Resources
GA Forestry Commission
GA Wildlife Resources Division
Keep Dalton/Whitfield Beautiful
Limestone Valley RC&D Council
Murray County Extension Office
Murray County Public Works Department
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Natural Resources Conservation Service
North GA Regional Development Center
Shaw Indusrties Inc.
Southeast Aquatic Research Institute
Southeast Tennessee RC&D Council
Tennessee Aquarium
TN Dept. of Agriculture - Div. of Forestry
TN Wildlife Resources Agency
The Nature Conservancy of Georgia
The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee
US Army Corps of Engineers
US Environmental Protection Agency
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US Geological Survey
University of Georgia - Institute of Ecology
Whitfield County Extension Office
Whitfield County Road Department

Thank You,
Shawn Clouse
Field Representative
Conasauga River Alliance