In April of 2019, working under our volunteer agreement with the USFS Andrew Pickens Ranger District, we gathered a group of volunteers and took our first trip to “Cigarette Beach” in Sect. IV of the Chattooga River. Using shovels, mattocks, saws, and shears, we worked to tackle kudzu, multiflora rose, mimosa, and Japanese honeysuckle. Our work is done using strictly hand tools, digging up root crowns and nodes to stop growth at the source, rather than spraying pesticides that will just kill vines for the season. The success of this first trip kept us motivated to continue this important work; meanwhile, witnessing the rapid growth of kudzu down the river through the spring and summer highlighted the need to greatly increase this effort to protect the river’s native ecosystems.
The large kudzu patch on the Georgia side of the river at the Hwy 76 bridge quickly became our first priority, as this was likely a significant seed source for what’s been developing downstream. Together with several hard-working volunteers, we’ve managed to knock back much of the kudzu and remove some of the largest kudzu crowns we’ve ever seen. We’re continuing to work on this patch and monitor for new growth, and we’re focusing more attention downstream and elsewhere in the watershed.
We’ve worked on several patches in Sect. IV, mainly in the vicinity of Camp Creek. Many volunteers, including raft guides, the Wander North Georgia crew, and numerous individuals, have helped out in this area and in Stekoa Creek Park. Most recently, a group of NOC guides have taken the initiative to work on some difficult patches around and below the Stekoa Creek confluence. This is definitely a community effort, and we’re so grateful for all the enthusiasm & support!
With kudzu and other invasives spreading rapidly along the banks of the Chattooga, there is plenty of work to be done! We organize group volunteer trips when we can and we’d love to have your help! Check our Volunteer page for upcoming events, and subscribe to our volunteer alerts to receive email notifications when they’re posted!