Help Protect the Chattahoochee River between Atlanta and West Point Lake

Between Atlanta and West Point Lake, 76 miles of the Chattahoochee River are not currently designated for recreation and are held to a lower protective standard for water quality than both upstream and downstream sections of the river. It’s time to close this gap and recognize the river’s use for recreation from Atlanta to West Point Lake. (Background info at bottom of page)

Sign your name below to ask Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to update the Designated Use of the Chattahoochee between Peachtree Creek and West Point Lake (where the Chattahoochee meets the New River) to be consistently designated for “Recreational Use”

More Ways to Help!

1) Let us know if you spend time on the Chattahoochee between Atlanta and West Point Lake Chattahoochee Riverkeeper is gathering information for EPD to demonstrate that people use this stretch of river for recreation. Have you or an organization you are involved with spent time paddling, wading, swimming in, or exploring this part of the Chattahoochee? Let us know at [email protected] – 404.924.4500 

2) Submit a comment to EPD by January 26 – Ask EPD to update the Designated Use of the Chattahoochee River from Atlanta to West Point Lake (at confluence with the New River) to “Recreational Use” and tell the agency how you use this section of the river. Email [email protected] with the subject line “Triennial Review Comments” or by mail to Environmental Protection Division, Watershed Protection Branch, Watershed Planning & Monitoring Program, Ste 1152 East, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Atlanta, GA 30334

3) Spread the word! – The more feedback that EPD receives about people who recreate on this section of river, the more likely the agency is to update the Designated Use to include Recreation. Ask your fellow paddlers, friends, and family to share their voice.

Background

Every three years Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) reviews and makes revisions to our state water quality standards with input from the public. During this process, EPD assigns “Designated Use” classifications for different sections of our rivers and streams based on how these waterways are used. Common Designated Uses assigned to rivers in Georgia include Fishing, Recreation, and Drinking Water Supply, and each of these categories is affiliated with specific water quality standards. For example, a section of river whose Designated Use is Recreation is held to a higher water quality standard than a section whose Designated Use is Fishing.

Participants of Paddle GA 2014 exploring the Middle Chattahoochee (Photo by Georgia River Network)

On the Chattahoochee River, different sections are classified with different Designated Uses. From the river’s headwaters in North Georgia until it reaches the City of Atlanta at Peachtree Creek (135 miles), the Chattahoochee River’s Designated Use is Recreation and/or Drinking Water. Below Peachtree Creek, the Chattahoochee’s Designated Use changes to Fishing, and the river’s designation does not include Recreation again until it reaches West Point Lake at the confluence with the New River. This means that nearly 76 miles of the Chattahoochee from Atlanta to West Point Lake are currently held to a lower protective standard for water quality than upstream or downstream of this section.

EPD’s current Triennial Review process is an opportunity to increase protection of the Chattahoochee River downstream of Atlanta by updating this river section’s Designated Use to include Recreation. The agency is currently considering changing a 13 mile portion of this section of river to Recreation, which is good news, but the remaining 63 miles should be granted the same designation (see map). Hundreds of people paddle, swim, and wade in the Chattahoochee between Peachtree Creek and West Point Lake each year, and this section of river is cleaner today than it has been for decades. Middle Chattahoochee communities are reconnecting with the river and should have access to a Chattahoochee held to the same protective standard as the river is both upstream and downstream. Now is the time to ask EPD to update the Designated Use of the Chattahoochee River between Peachtree Creek and West Point Lake to be consistently designated for “Recreational Use.”

Websites for more information