Southern Georgia Regional Commission Environmental Department
The SGRC environmental department consists of environmental planners who work to preserve the natural resources of South Georgia, with an emphasis on water resources. Staff collaborates with agencies such as the Georgia Environmental Protection Division,University of Georgia, USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service, GA Soil & Water Conservation Commission, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and several Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Councilsto ensure the quality of our efforts and products.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is charged with addressing the various environmental issues that our rapidly growing state is facing. One of those issues is the health of our water bodies. In order to determine whether a water body is healthy or not, a total maximum daily load (TMDL) must be developed. As explained by Georgia EPD, “a TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a river, stream or lake can receive and still be safe and healthy.”
Every two years, the Georgia EPD releases what is known as the Georgia 305(b)/303(d) list, which identifies the streams that did not meet their water quality standards. In 2015, there were 40 impaired stream segments in the SGRC region listed with various water quality violations, such as low dissolved oxygen (DO), elevated levels of fecal coliform (FC), and mercury.
The good news is that the number of impaired streams segments has decreased over the years. This could be contributed to a number of reasons, such as improvements to the modeling used by the State to establish the TMDLs, installation of best management practices (BMPs), and education outreach. With 40 stream segments being listed as impaired, there is still so much more that we can do to improve and protect our water resources. Some activities may include:
Since 2002, the environmental program has successfully partnered on projects totaling over $3 million dollars to the SGRC region for environmental projects. Some of these projects include the development of TMDL Implementation Plans, watershed assessments / evaluations, installation of BMPs, workshops, education outreach, and much more.
Several current or recent examples of water management studies in the SGRC region include Broxton Creek and Roses Creek in Coffee County, Pride Branch in Brooks County, and New River in Tift County.
The Southern Georgia Regional Commission will be offering an opportunity for city and county governments to remove and recycle scrap tires. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GAEPD) announced the availability of funding from the state Solid Waste Trust Fund (SWTF) to local governments and solid waste authorities. The Georgia Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Act covers the cost of transporting and processing scrap tires from areas where the property owner is either unknown, financially unable to clean up the tires, or a victim of illegal dumping.
In the State of Georgia there are 14 major river basins. The Southern Georgia Regional Commission region is located in five of those river basins:
Regional River Basin Map coming soon!