The Oak Ridger
July 1, 2003

Foundation, project recognized for Coal Creek work
The Coal Creek Watershed Foundation Inc. and Anderson County Project Impact have been recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV for their work in removing deadwood and debris accumulating at 13 bridge piers, and for conducting bank stabilization projects along Coal Creek.

The award was presented June 22 during the Southeast Disaster Resistant Communities held in Charleston, S.C.

The award was in the Special Projects category in which government entities, businesses and individuals were recognized for their work in safeguarding communities by making them more resistant to natural disasters.

The award will be presented locally at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 2, at the Anderson County Courthouse.

"While we cannot prevent natural disasters, these folks have done something to reduce the possibility of personal injury and the amount of property damage caused by flooding," a Coal Creek Watershed Foundation news release quotes FEMA Region IV Director Ken Burris as saying. "This is what Disaster Resistant Communities are all about."

The accumulation of deadwood and debris at the 13 bridges crossing Coal Creek was identified as the primary reason for localized flooding by the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation. (See removal results at www.coalcreekaml.com/Deadwood.htm)

Bank stabilization projects were also undertaken to force water in the stream to cut a deeper channel naturally, rather than eroding banks. Bank stabilization efforts are shown at www.coalcreekaml.com/BankStabHat.htm.

The bank stabilization and cleanup projects were sponsored by the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, Anderson County Project Impact, the Anderson County Litter Grant Program, the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Geo/Environmental Associates Inc. The projects were performed by many volunteers.

"This award recognizes the hard work of many individuals including County Executive Rex Lynch," the release quotes Barry Thacker, president of the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, as saying. "Two years ago, he promised his support in obtaining federal grants for Coal Creek and he kept his word.

"Winning a national award from FEMA should demonstrate to other federal agencies that money invested in Anderson County will be used effectively," Thacker stated.

Project Impact was developed from a FEMA grant awarded to Anderson County in 2000 to build a disaster resistant community and in turn save lives and decrease the damage caused by disasters. The grant is administered by the Anderson County executive under the direction of Mark Whaley, Project Impact coordinator.

"The improvement of the Coal Creek area has been a top priority of my administration, and while spending several days working side by side with the residents of Coal Creek and other volunteers on this project, I have an even greater appreciation for the value of this area and the importance of making it disaster resistant," the release quotes Lynch as saying.

"This is a perfect example of how partnerships and Project Impact work together in the quest for disaster resistant communities," Whaley stated.

"Barry Thacker, Carol Moore, and the other volunteers of CCWF have spent countless hours on this continuing Coal Creek project, and it is very fitting that their efforts are rewarded at the high level at which they have been recognized. They are indeed a model Project Impact Partner."

Anyone interested in helping with future Coal Creek Watershed Foundation and/or Project Impact activities is asked to contact Whaley at mwacpi@icx.net or 865-457-6269 or visit the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation's Web site at www.coalcreekaml.com.

The next Deadwood Removal Day is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 3. More details will be announced later.