Chattahoochee basin named one of America's Great Waters

04-18-2012 // Mike Owen - Ledger-Enquirer

This excerpt is from The Ledger-Enquirer

The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin has been designated one of America's Great Waters, joining natural resources such as the Everglades, Great Lakes and the Mississippi River in holding that distinction.

America's Great Waters Coalition, which made the designation, is an alliance of national, regional, state and local organizations devoted to protecting, preserving and restoring important water resources.

The announcement of the ACF Basin, along with the St. Johns River in Florida and the Hudson River in New York, was made Wednesday on the banks of the Chattahoochee, within earshot of the ongoing whitewater rafting river restoration project.

"We will join a host of other well-known and important ecosystems across the country, such as the Florida Everglades, the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, Coastal Louisiana, and on and on," said Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Association, who made the announcement. "What we hope to accomplish with this is to bring greater public recognition at the national level of the ecological significance of the ACF and the great economic and societal values and some of the challenges and threats that it faces."

Chattahoochee RiverWarden Executive Director Roger Martin, who joined Fuller for the announcement, said restoration efforts like the whitewater project and the Mill Creek restoration project on the Alabama side helped the basin gain the designation.

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The ACF river system spans more than 19,600 square miles and flows from the Blue Ridge Mountains, through Atlanta, and south through rural Georgia, Alabama and Florida before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.

"While the Great Waters vary in geographic location and physical characteristics, they are plagued by similar problems such as pollution, altered water flows, habitat loss and destruction, invasive species, climate change, and more," said Adam Kolton, co-chairman for the America's Great Waters Coalition and a senior director at the National Wildlife Federation. "Federal support for restoration work is essential for protecting these important waterways."

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