Great Gwinnett Wetlands 2018 is Officially Water Under the Bridge

by | May 11, 2018

Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Pleased to Report Results of Another Successful Cleanup Event

For the last four years, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful has been proud to team up with Gwinnett County’s Department of Water Resources to raise awareness about the important role that wetlands play, as well as to motivate the community to act as stewards to local wetlands. Dubbed Great Gwinnett Wetlands, the two organizations have held an annual educational-cleanup event at Bromolow Creek and Beaver Ruin Wetlands since 2015. The latest installment took place on Saturday, April 28, and the outstanding results included the removal of 3,560 pounds of litter and 14,500 pounds of invasive plants – all in just four hours.

“We welcomed more than 200 volunteers bright and early that morning, and then fanned out over the area,” said Sumner Gann, program manager for Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful. “Some of our volunteers were tasked with testing the water to see if our efforts over previous years were paying off, some tackled the growth of privet – which is an invasive plant that chokes the health of the wetland, and others picked up litter in the area in and around the wetland to prevent it from washing down into the wetland or further downstream – where that pollution could otherwise negatively impact the health of the wetland and other water sources it feeds.”

In honor of Gwinnett County’s 200th birthday, Gann opened Great Gwinnett Wetlands with a story about how the name Beaver Ruin originated. Legend holds that a Native American man named Beaver Toter once lived in the area. One day, it rained so hard that there was a massive flood that destroyed his entire home. Everything he possessed was ruined by this flood—hence the name “Beaver Ruin.” His namesake – the beaver – is a creature that builds dams with trees and branches, helping to create healthy wetlands, which can then offer better flood protection. As a result, this year’s commemorative Great Gwinnett Wetlands t-shirt featured the image of a beaver holding back the floods with his awesome strength and fortitude. Remarkably one of the most exciting developments of the day was the discovery that four coconut fiber logs installed during Great Gwinnett Wetlands 2017 were not only functioning beautifully but have since been taken over by beavers. Designed to protect the wetland from erosion and allow it to absorb water for better flood control – these coconut fiber logs have been enhanced by a beaver dam built atop the existing structure.

“It’s a prime example of our work and the natural world functioning in tandem – a truly awesome thing to witness,” added Gann. “Other efforts we’ve tried in the past – such as the incorporation of bird boxes, bat boxes, native plants, willow stakes, mushroom logs – have not had the lasting effect for which we’d hoped. I’m so proud of our board member, Kevin Middlebrooks, for taking the lead on the coconut fiber log project. Now that we know they are working so well, future volunteer efforts may be directed to this type of low-cost and minimally-invasive method to help protect and enhance the Great Wetlands of Gwinnett County.”

Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful wishes to thank all of the volunteers for the hard work and dedication they showed during Great Gwinnett Wetlands 2018. The environmentally-focused nonprofit organization also extends its gratitude to a number of local businesses and organizations that provided team leaders for the event. Included among them were CH2M Hill, the Environmental Protection Agency, Yellow River Water Trail, Green Youth Advisory Council, City of Griffin and The Master Gardeners.

To learn about future Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful cleanup and educational events, as well as the many ways to be a good steward of the environment year-round, interested individuals and groups are encouraged to visit