Coosa River named to Georgia's 'Dirty Dozen' list of polluted rivers

photo Michael Hill swings on a vine on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, while swimming in the Coosa River at Corn Creek Park. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Amanda Sowards)

The river that drains most of Northwest Georgia has been named one of the state's "Dirty Dozen" by the Georgia Water Coalition.

On its list released Saturday, the coalition included the Coosa River, which is formed from water that starts in the Conasauga, Oostanaula, Coosawattee, Chattooga and other Northwest Georgia streams.

The group says its list is "exposing the worst offenses to Georgia's water" and blames funding cuts to Georgia's Environmental Protection Division. The cuts, combined with a lack of political will to enforce environmental laws, have put the streams in the condition they are in, group officials say.

Jerry McCollum, president of the Georgia Wildlife Federation and a founding member of the coalition, said the list "is a call to action."

"The sites populating this list are only poster children for the larger problem of a system that is failing to protect our water, our fish and wildlife and our communities," he said.

For complete coverage, see Sunday's Times Free Press.