Category: Phinizy Blog Feed

Adopt-A-Stream Basin Breakout

GA Adopt-A-Stream first ever Basin Breakout Session


Phinizy Center for Water Sciences was proud to host Georgia Adopt-A-Stream’s (AAS) first basin breakout session outside of their annual spring conference – Confluence. On July 21, twenty-two AAS volunteer enthusiasts came together at the Phinizy campus for networking, idea sharing and discussions about our own Savannah River Watershed. Many of the people in this group get together every year at the annual Confluence and in March, we decided that once a year was not enough. It was a great day for everyone!

So what is GA AAS? It is a citizen water quality monitoring and education program for all of Georgia’s waterways with five goals:

  • Increase public Awareness of Georgia’s nonpoint source pollution and water quality issues
  • Collect baseline water quality Data
  • Encourage volunteers to take Observations of their adopted site and surrounding environment
  • Encourage Partnerships between citizens and their local government
  • Provide citizens with the Tools and Training to evaluate and protect their local waterways

Because watersheds often cross state boundaries, GA AAS now accepts South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida certified volunteer’s data. The meeting on July 21 was near equally split between SC and GA residents and was represented by:

  • South Carolina DHEC
  • Upstate Forever (a SC group)
  • Carolina Clear (Clemson University)
  • Savannah Riverkeeper
  • Sierra Club – Savannah River group
  • Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society
  • Phinizy Center Education
  • And of course GA state AAS coordinators (GA EPD)

The results of the meeting were positive: Everyone agreed that we would like to get together on at least an annual basis outside of the annual Confluence to talk about individual monitoring efforts and overall health of the entire Savannah watershed. South Carolina folks were also looking to streamline future AAS training so they would not have to travel so far for certification. Interested in joining this group? Contact Ruth Mead, Senior Environmental Educator at the Phinizy Center or visit

1,000 Cranes for Phinizy Swamp

Kayla Rayburn 1K Cranes   Kayla.Rayburn.SwampBoardwalk

Kayla Rayburn loves Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, and she is on a mission to make sure that everyone in Augusta knows about it! Kayla is hand-crafting 1,000 individually numbered origami cranes and taking them to the Augusta Market to raise awareness in the community and to raise funds for the park. There is a Japanese legend that says whoever folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish, and Kayla’s wish is for a bright future for Phinizy Swamp.

Kayla was first inspired to let people know more about Phinizy Swamp Nature Park when she was selling her own photography to raise money for her school’s art department. People who saw her photos of the park thought they were beautiful, but had never heard of Phinizy Swamp. She felt that as one of Augusta’s natural treasures, she wanted to let others know about it so that they could enjoy it as well.

Kayla will be taking her cranes and information about the park to venues such as the Augusta Market, First Friday and more! Anyone can take a crane, and she will also be accepting donations toward the support of the park. People can then bring one of her crane’s into our Swamp Shop / Visitor Center for a one-time 10% discount on merchandise.

We are grateful to Kayla for her interest in the swamp and for her hard work raising community awareness!



Little Girl Gives Birthday Gifts Up for Navy Volunteers

Allysa Raynor recently had her 7th birthday party at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. She had been planning her nature-themed birthday for months, incorporating “green” recycled & re-purposed decorations and re-usable party supplies. And it was fun – the children participated in activities such as leaf stamping and creating art on recycled paper.

But the truly inspiring part of her party were the gifts – not for herself, but for others. Instead of accepting birthday gifts, this 7-year-old girl asked for guests to bring donations of fresh fruit, cookies, trail mix, and cold drinks for the 22 US Navy volunteers who were working in the park that same day. These gifts were delivered to the Navy volunteers by Phinizy Center staff. However, four of the sailors were able to stop in at the party to thank her.

At Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, we have the privilege of seeing many people give of themselves. And whether it’s the hard-working volunteers who keep the park clean and safe or the beautiful gifts of a child sacrificing to give to others, we want to say thank you to the many amazing people we encounter here. These people are making a difference for their community and for the future!

Navy Reserves.Birthday Party Navy Seabees.1 web size Navy Reserves.7


Swamp Drawing Project

Priscilla Hollingsworth, local artist and Phinizy education volunteer has been doing a summer swamp drawing project.

Read more about her project here on The Artside.

Check out her project blog here.

Be sure to take a walk around the park to see how many of her drawing you can spot!

Monitoring Mosquitos

Mosquito Monitoring Program

Phinizy Center for Water Sciences has begun a mosquito-monitoring program for Richmond County Mosquito Control. Mosquito monitoring, or “surveillance,” involves systematic trapping to collect information about the numbers and kinds of mosquito’s present, which helps us learn how mosquito populations change over time and space. The goal of surveillance is to provide a basis for developing control efforts, evaluate current control operations, and determine where the greatest risk for mosquito-spread illnesses occur. Since January, we’ve been trapping at 14 locations across Richmond County to monitor trends in mosquito populations countywide. Traps are set overnight at each location bi-weekly (once every other week); so, one month consists of 28 “trap nights.” As expected, we’ve seen an increase in both the total number of mosquitoes and the number of different species caught in our traps as we move into the summer months.

Figure 1. This graph displays monthly trends in the number of mosquitoes and number of different species trapped in Richmond County at 14 sites. Each site was trapped twice a month for a total of 28 trap events per month. The blue line represents the total number of mosquitoes caught each month, ranging from 1 in January to 230 in April. The red bars represent the number of different species caught each month ranging from 1 in January to 10 in April.


Benefits of Species Identification

The primary goal of species identification is targeting control efforts.  Approximately 60 species of mosquitoes are found in Georgia and each is distinct in:

 o   Where the larvae are found o   How far it flies
o   When, where, and what it bites o   Vector (disease transmitting) abilities
o   Where it rests o   Pesticide susceptibility


Identifying nuisance species (feed on humans) and disease vectors (transmit illness), as well as understanding the biology and ecology of each can help reduce manpower, time, funds, and pesticides used in mosquito control.

Mosquito-borne Diseases

 Mosquito Repellants

Press Release – New Name, Same Mission

Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy Changes Name to

Phinizy Center for Water Sciences

New Name – Same Mission

Phinizy Center for Water Sciences (Phinizy Center), formerly known as Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy, was founded in 1996 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in response to a critical need in the community for leadership in natural resources management and environmental education. Since its initial work began, Phinizy Center has strived to provide both education and research without bias or agenda that allows regulators, industries and community members to learn about and then make wise informed decisions regarding water use and quality.

Phinizy Center for Water Sciences is excited to announce its new name to the community. This new name encompasses dedication to the mission of using unbiased science to find solutions for water quality issues and providing water-based environmental education. While the Center’s work monitoring rivers has expanded beyond the local area to include multiple areas in the southeast, the local association with the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, home base of the program, is of great importance to its identity.

Phinizy Center will continue to build on its mission. In addition to the new name, the logo has also changed. However, the iconic dragonfly that so many associate with Phinizy Swamp Nature Park remains the key feature. A river has been added to the logo to reflect the scope of the Center’s work. Finally, Phinizy Center is committed to offering more ways for the public to become more informed and directly involved in its work. Opportunities are listed on the new website at Check it out to see the exciting things that are happening and how you can be part of it!


Clean Water. A healthy environment. Economic prosperity. Community well-being. At Phinizy Center for Water Sciences, we know that these things are important to everyone, and these are the driving forces behind what we do. Beginning with the care-taking of Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, we then expand our reach throughout the Southeast. Through unbiased research without agenda, to award winning education and recreation, we are working to create a better future.


By Jason Moak, Research Scientist

Last year was a wet year.  A really wet year!  Based on historical data from a weather station at Bush Field Airport, the average annual rainfall from 1981 – 2010 was 44 inches.  In 2013, that same station logged almost 56 inches of total rainfall.  That’s a whole foot of extra rain!  What’s even more impressive is that a large portion of that total was experienced in just two months – with close to 20 inches of rain in June and July. All this rain was a good thing.  Much of the Savannah River Basin (SRB) had been experiencing extreme drought since 2010.  The Palmer Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI) is used to characterize wet or drought conditions and reflect conditions in rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater.  The PHDI scale generally ranges from -4, representing extreme drought, to +4, representing extremely wet conditions.  The SRB began 2013 with a PHDI value of -3.2, indicating severe drought.  However, the above average rainfall moved the SRB index into the moderately moist range, where it presently remains. The effects of all of this extra rain could certainly be seen in the upstream lakes.  On June 8, 2013, Lake Thurmond reached full pool, 330 feet above mean sea level (ft msl) for the first time since February 2010.    Lake Hartwell reached full pool (660 ft msl) on May 24, 2013 for the first time since June of 2011. Perhaps the most dramatic of all the effects of this extra rainfall were seen in the Savannah River.  Based on the US Geological Survey gauge at New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, the daily average discharge in the Savannah River was 24,534 cubic feet per second (cfs), which was by far the highest daily average discharge since Thurmond Dam construction was finished in 1954.  In terms we can all understand, in July 2013, the amount of water in the Savannah River that flowed past the CSRA was enough to fill 24,088 Olympic swimming pools each day!