RBC Researcher Katie Hill Speaks at Georgia Environmental Conference

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RBC Researcher Katie Hill Speaks at Georgia Environmental Conference

Katie Hill spoke on a panel at the Georgia Environmental Conference (GEC) on August 24th, 2017, about her work evaluating the mitigation efforts of the Savannah district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The GEC is hosted on Jekyll Island and allows environmental professionals to exchange ideas and knowledge about environmental concerns in Georgia and throughout the Southeast.

The panel focused on whether the Army Corps’ Savannah District, which regulates impacts to waters under the Clean Water Act across the state of Georgia, is meeting the important national policy of “no net loss” of aquatic resources. Under this policy, projects receiving permits from the Army Corps are required to restore the same amount of aquatic resources that they disrupt.  Katie presented the findings of a recent RBC analysis that addressed this issue and found that the Savannah District is likely meeting “no net loss” for wetlands but is not doing so for streams. In fact, for every foot of stream that was disrupted, only 0.36 ft were restored.  The panel discussed these findings as well as newly proposed Savannah District standards that incorporated recommendations from the RBC analysis in order to achieve no net loss for both wetlands and streams. Other panelists included Matt Peevy from the Georgia Environmental Restoration Association, which funded the RBC analysis, Eric Somerville from EPA, and Justin Hammonds from the Army Corps’ Savannah District.  

The final report from the “no net loss” analysis will be released this Fall.  The project team included RBC Jon Skaggs, who conducted a grueling database and permit review in addition to substantial GIS work, and Hunter Jones, an independent environmental attorney.

For more information, contact Katie Hill at katiehill (at) uga.edu