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January 28, 2015
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Posted: Friday, January 3rd 2014 at 8:41am

Chestatee-Chattahoochee RC&D Council reflects on 2013 accomplishments

By Staff
DEMOREST - Frank Riley, Jr., executive director of the Chestatee-Chattahooche Resource Conservation & Development Council (RC&D), says 2013 was a re-building year for the organization.

"...we started to look under new rocks for projects rather than the same old mossy places where plentiful federal dollars used to be found," Riley says. "We knew that we had to think outside of the old box in order to survive and offer services that would help our communities in Northeast Georgia."

Riley added "we slowly began to push this once highly regarded, no longer federally funded, program back on the road to recovery by offering our citizens several highly successful programs that actually were useful and contributed to improving their way of life."

He listed a few of the successful projects and programs that the RC&D provided last year:

1. Firewise Communities – Towns County had a very successful Firewise Communities program and we decided to try to improve on it and work on wildfire safety education projects since Firewise fits in our mission of helping people improve their standard of living by helping them protect their property and homes. Since the Firewise program was started in Towns County, wildfire calls have dropped 75% which has saved the county, community, and citizens many dollars by reducing wildfire risks that reduce costs for firefighting and property losses. We increased the number of Firewise Communities in Towns County from 3 to 12 in 2013, and since the total number of Firewise Communities in Georgia is 44 our 12 made us stand out.

2. Fire Adapted Communities – The notoriety that we gained with the successful Firewise program caught national attention and Chest/Chatt was invited to develop one of 8 national Fire Adapted Communities pilot projects in Towns County. Fire Adapted Communities is a National, comprehensive wildfire preparedness program designed to prepare the entire county to survive a wildfire event. Fire Adapted includes Firewise plus many other wildfire prevention and safety components including Ready, Set, Go an evacuation plan for our citizens. Funding for the Fire Adapted program has been extended thru the end of 2015, and when the concept is fully developed in Towns in mid-2014, Chest/Chatt will spread the program across North Georgia and eventually the Southeast.

3. Wildfire, Safe, Sound and Code Smart workshop – Chest/Chatt hosted a 2 day workshop sponsored by FEMA, Homeland Security, the US Forest Service, and the National RC&D Council to present the new Wildland, Urban Interface, building code that the State Fire Marshall has endorsed for Georgia.

4. Forest Action Plan Workshop – Chest/Chatt hosted a one day workshop sponsored by the US Forest Service at the Dillard House to give our citizens the opportunity to learn about the plans developed by the Georgia Forestry Commission for management of Georgia’s publically owned forests and to learn about opportunities available to private forest land owners.

5. Mud Creek EPD 319h grant – Chest/Chatt is administering an EPD grant in Habersham County that funds projects to improve water quality in the Mud Creek and Little Mud Creek watershed.

6. Coldwater Creek EPD 319h grant - Chest/Chatt is administering an EPD grant in Hart and Elbert counties that funds projects to improve water quality in the Coldwater Creek watershed.

7. Town/Tesnatee Creek EPD 319h grant - Water quality improvement project in White County upcoming in 2014.

8. Lady Bug Farms field day - Chest/Chatt, along with the NRCS, hosted a field day at Lady Bug Farms in Rabun County to showcase organic alternative farming methods.

9. NRCS Outreach program – Chest/Chatt hosted a one day workshop at Jaemor Farms for County Extension agents to learn about available NRCS programs. Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D Council will continue to work for you, the citizens of Northeast Georgia, in 2014.
Frank Riley is the Executive Director of the Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D Council and may be contacted at or for more information on the Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D Council visit our web site

Link: Chestee-Chattahoochee RC&D Council
Associated Categories: Business News, Local/State News

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