"It means a lot to get a pat on the back for a good job well done, but all the credit goes to the guys," Gray said, referring to the public works employees that maintain the structures in the Pumpkinvine Creek, Raccoon Creek, and the Pine Log Creek watershed areas. "They just do a fantastic job out there. I can't speak good enough [about] all of them. They're great."
Joining Gray and Brown at the presentation were John Loughridge, Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission regional representative; Paula Alford, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil conservation technician; Carol Griner, Bartow County technician for NRCS; Davis Nelson, Coosa River Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor; and Jimmy Dellinger, property owner of Raccoon Creek Watershed Flood Control Structure No. 8 and past Coosa River SWCD supervisor.
According to a news release provided by the NRCS, "The Coosa River Soil and Water Conservation District secured federal money in the late 1950s to build the watershed flood control structures to protect private property as well as public infrastructure from potential flood waters. The Bartow County Road Department has prolonged the life of the structures by mowing them annually. This annual maintenance extends the integrity of the structures by preventing tree growth on the dams."
Echoing the released statement, Griner underlined the significance of the maintenance work conducted under Gray's leadership.
"The reason it's so important to maintain these is ... if these dams have trees growing on them and the roots go down into the dam, it starts losing its compaction. The roots -- it ruins the integrity of the dam to hold and it can weaken the dam," she said, adding this situation could turn dire during severe flooding conditions. "And when all that water gets up to the dam, it puts a lot of pressure on it and it could break, or breach is what we call it, and put all this water back down into these creeks and flood a lot of the areas."