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Rivers provide backdrop for CRBI’s Biodiversity Bash

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Supporters of the efforts of the Coosa River Basin Initiative to enhance the quality of the waters that flow through Rome partied at the confluence of the Oostanaula, Etowah and Coosa rivers Saturday night. The annual River Revelry Biodiversity Bash is one of the CRBI’s larger fundraising efforts each year.

CRBI Director Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman said the group did not have a specific fundraising goal for the event this year.

He said partiers were made well aware of the fact that, for example, $500 raised during auctions could help pay for a school to enjoy a completely sponsored paddle trip, or $250 would pay for new water quality monitoring equipment.

Money generated by River Revelry goes to support the whole spectrum of CRBI activities from education to physical water quality monitoring to the review and comment on the large number of water discharge permits from industries who push water back into the rivers from a variety of chemical, manufacturing and power plants across the region. “There has been a lot of that this year,” Demonbreun-Chapman said.

Several people in attendance at the event were happy about the decision by the SPLOST Citizens Advisory Committee to include several projects that will draw more attention to the waterways.

The project list includes $3.6 million for soft launch sites, riverside campsites, a community boathouse, signs and an expansion of the Rome-Floyd ECO River Education Center. Dr. Frank Harbin said he was particularly happy with improvements that are being planned for the Brushy Branch/Montgomery Landing area off the Coosa River. Kayaking enthusiast Nina Lovel was happy with the possibility of funding for two additional launch locations on the local rivers.

New to the event this year was a Taco Take Down competition and a Lip Synch contest, both of which proved to be popular with the crowd that packed into Heritage Park. Bennie Gray and the Trailer Park Cowboys provided live entertainment throughout the night.

The next big event for CRBI is a Fish Weir Paddle on the Etowah River on Saturday. Paddlers will put in at the ramp on U.S. 411 in Bartow County and work their way 17 miles to the west, and takeout at Dixon Landing near Grizzard Park at the East Rome Bypass. The course allows paddlers to see several native American fish weirs, or fish traps, which helped feed the natives hundreds of years ago.

For more information, contact CRBI at 706-232-2724.