Georgia began using a river basin planning approach to watershed protection in the 1990s. This approach provided a framework for identifying, assessing, and prioritizing water resource issues; and developing implementation strategies to reduce pollution, enhance aquatic habitat, and provide a dependable water supply.
The River Basin Management Plans were prepared in accordance with legislation passed by the Georgia General Assembly that called for the Environmental Protection Division to prepare plans for each major river basin in Georgia. The plans were developed in cooperation with the public and agency partners, including the Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, DNR's Wildlife Resources Division, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U. S Geological Survey, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The plans include information on the following, based on the date of preparation:
- River Basin Characteristics
- Water Quantity
- Environmental Stressors
- Concerns and Priority Issues
- Implementation Strategies
- Future Issues and Challenges
- River Basin Planning Act
- Georgia Instream Water Quality Standards
- Point Source Control Efforts
- NPDES Permits
- Support of Designated Uses
- Adopt-A-Stream Program
The River Basin Management Plans are listed below:
*Note: Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) established under the Clean Water Act for stream segments within these basins are included in the River Basin Plans and are incorporated by reference therein. The TMDLs for the river basins are too voluminous to be attached to each plan, but copies of any or all of the TMDLs adopted by reference may be obtained from EPD by either the TMDL webpage, or by sending a request to the Watershed Protection Branch, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 1152 East, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.
In 2001, the Carl Vinson Institute published Linking State Water Programs to Watershed Management. This guidebook provided general information on watersheds, watershed management, and water quality. It presented several strong reasons for local governments to consider using a watershed management approach. The document showed where the state watershed management programs can be linked to bring the protection and planning activities together into a single watershed approach.
Georgia’s river basin planning legislation was superseded and replaced by the Georgia State-wide Water Planning Act (O.C.G.A. §12-5520 et seq.) in 2004. Regional water planning now proceeds through the framework established by the 2008 State Water Plan, adopted pursuant to the State-wide Water Planning Act. See https://waterplanning.georgia.gov for Georgia’s current approach to water planning.