Georgia Ecological Services Field Offices
Southeast Region
Map of the Southeast Region

The ACF and ACT Basins: Water Allocation and Natural Resource Protection

 

Situation

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida to ensure that the protection of biodiversity is fully considered, and balanced with economic goals, in the water allocation decisions of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin (ACF) Commission and the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) Commission.

ACF ACT Map | Provided by US Army Corp of Engineers
ACF ACT Map | Provided by US Army Corp of Engineers

Unique Characteristics

The ACF and ACT basins are distinguished worldwide for their diversity of freshwater aquatic snails and mussels. Unfortunately, the extinction of several snails and mussels has been recorded in these basins, due primarily to water quantity alterations from impoundments and water quality changes.

Mission

The Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plant populations as a continuing resource for the benefit of the American people. The Service enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores fisheries, conserves important wildlife habitat, and administers the Endangered Species Act.

Concerns

In the ACF and ACT river basins, 65 species are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. In Southwest Georgia, four freshwater mussels and the gulf sturgeon are on this list. Recovering listed species and preventing the future listings of plant and animal species are priorities for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some of the water allocation proposals currently being considered could adversely affect endangered or threatened species. The Fish and Wildlife Service has provided instream flow guidelines to Georgia, Alabama and Florida that describe flow regime features that would protect listed species. A full evaluation of the current state proposals is underway relative to these guidelines.

Interests

The Fish and Wildlife Service is also a riparian landowner and water user in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin. Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge straddles the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and Alabama, and the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge in Florida is located at the mouth of Apalachicola River.

Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery and Regional Fish Technology Center are in the upper Flint River basin and rely on high quality sources of groundwater. The Fish and Wildlife Service is also responsible for protecting anadromous fish, migratory birds, and wetlands of both basins.

Solutions

In order to protect the biodiversity of the basins, the water allocation formulas should:

  • Minimize departures from natural flow regimes.
  • Allocate water for recognized near-term uses.
  • Include federal reservoir operations guidelines in the formulas.
  • Maintain and improve water quality.
  • Monitor water use allocations, reservoir operations guidelines, and their effects on resources.

The service is working with the States to incorporate these principles in the water allocation decision.

For further information:

Sandy Tucker
Field Supervisor
Georgia Ecological Services
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
105 Westpark Dr, Suite D
Athens, GA 30605
706 613-9493
Fax 706 613-6059
Dr. Don Imm
Field Supervisor
Panama City Ecological Services
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1601 Balboa Avenue
Panama City, FL 32405
850 769-0552
Fax 850 763-2177
Bill Pearson
Field Supervisor
Alabama Ecological Services
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Drawer 1190
Daphne, AL 36626
251 441-5181
Fax 251 441-5181

 


FOR MORE INFORMATION:
US Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers (COE) handles many functions connected to the ACF and ACT riverbasins. The Hot Topics page for the Mobile District Corps of Engineers web site offers a variety of information concerning the waterflows within these systems of rivers including environmental impact statements, water management and flow data.

The transcript of the December 5th, 2002 ACF stakeholders public meeting in Columbus, Georgia, has been posted on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District website.

ACF Stakeholders Public Meeting Transcript - 12/05/03

Documents Courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

 

Last updated: November 16, 2012