The Alcovy River Swamp is located adjacent to the Alcovy River, in north-central Georgia. The Alcovy river is a 69 mile long tributary of the Ocmulgee River, and part of the Altamaha watershed. It originates near Lawrenceville, Georgia, and flows south, eventually emptying into Lake Jackson. On its track near the city of Covington, is the Alcovy River Swamp. The swamp is now part of a nature conservancy, called the Alcovy Conservation Center, which has trails that allow people to explore the swamp and surrounding forest. Another waterway, Cornish Creek, is a tributary that runs north to south, meeting the Alcovy River, where the swamp rests in the corner between the two. The wetlands are surrounded by the Cornish Creek floodplain, so many plant species that can be found here are those that can thrive underwater for periods of time, such as river cane, sweet gum, musclewood, and river birch.
The Alcovy River Swamp is not without human influence. In the 1960’s, Cornish Creek was channelized to prevent flooding. The bottom of the river was dredged to scoop out sediment, which removed many natural bends found in the river, making it reminiscent of a drainage ditch. The creek still has not returned to its natural form, as during storms water is able to travel through it too quickly, eroding the banks and transporting large amounts of sediment downstream, where it threatens water quality and aquatic habitats near the swamp. This land also bears the mark of agricultural use. The forest surrounding the swamp was used as farmland in the mid-1900’s, which is evident from the way in which the land has been shaped into terraces, which helped maximize farming area and prevent erosion.
Like other wetlands, the Alcovy River Swamp is a valuable natural feature because of the incredible biodiversity it harbors, its ability to filter out pollutants and sediments from water sources, and because it prevents downstream flooding by storing excess water.
Georgia River Network. (n.d.) Ocmulgee River. Web. Retrieved 15 November 2021 from https://garivers.org/ocmulgee-river/.
Georgia Wildlife Federation. (n.d.) Alcovy Conservation Center. Web. Retrieved 29 November 2021 from https://gwf.org/acc/.
Georgia Wildlife Federation. (n.d.) Discovering the Alcovy River Swamp and its surrounding habitats. Web. Retrieved 15 November 2021 from https://gwf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ACCtrailguide.pdf.
Snoflo. (n.d.) Alcovy River. Web. Retrieved 15 November 2021 from https://snoflo.org/river-levels/alcovy-river.