Priority Areas for Water Protection in the Middle Chattahoochee

The RBC is working with the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Southeastern Partnership for Forests and Water in Georgia are working to identify critical areas for protection of surface water supplies in the middle Chattahoochee watershed. Through facilitating stewardship, management, protection, and conservation, this project hopes to address the middle Chattahoochee watershed’s needs and challenges.

While flows on the Chattahoochee River are already contentious, the large variety of land uses and growing urbanization in the Middle Chattahoochee watershed make preserving water quality an ongoing challenge.  The Southeastern Partnership for Forests and Water in Georgia implements a regional collaborative effort focusing on drinking water, forestry, and conservation to improve forested watershed protection.  These efforts benefit drinking water and local economies throughout the Southeastern U.S. and help maintain or expand healthy forests in drinking water watersheds.  The goal of the partnership is to identify watersheds applicable for forest conservation, management, and restoration, and explore creative and non-traditional watershed protection strategies.

The RBC project’s principal investigators, Duncan Elkins, Susan Wilde, and Seth Wenger, plan to create an analysis describing the current state of land use in the middle Chattahoochee basin and outlining the current threats that it poses to surface water quality.   Using a Watershed Management Priority Index (WMPI), derived from land cover, soil, and elevation data, the project will identify high priority areas for conservation or restoration.