GWC Meeting Report 2014-06-05

Clean natural water systems for drinking, agriculture, and recreation, now and in the future: Georgia Water Coalition spelled those things out in six recommendations at its recent partner meeting. Dave Hetzel represented WWALS at that meeting.

Beginning of the Georgia Water Coalition Partners Meeting June 5, 2014 Report Prepared by Hans Neuhauser, Facilitator, Georgia Land Conservation Center:

The first meeting of the Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) Partners for 2014 took place on June 5, 2014 at the Georgia Wildlife Federation’s Alcovy Conservation Center in Covington. Seventy-six people (plus the facilitator) participated in the meeting including representatives of 43 GWC member organizations. The names, affiliations and e-mail addresses of the participants are provided in Appendix I to this report.

The purposes of the meeting included providing brief updates on a number of topics and issues and reaching consensus on the recommendations to be included in the 2015 GWC Report.

This part is relevant to an ongoing WWALS discussion:

Proposed Waters of the US rule

Juliet Cohen reported that the EPA was currently seeking comments on what constituted “Waters of the United States.” The need to clarify the definition comes from language in the Clean Water Act and subsequent court rulings including SWANCC (2001) and RAPANOS (2006) that clouded things.

Among the issues are “isolated wetlands” and the extent to which they are connected with other waters of the US. Will they be automatically protected, protected on a case-by-case basis or exempted from regulation?

The deadline for comment on the EPA notice in the Federal Register is October 20 (recently extended from July 21). The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and the Southern Environmental Law Center are actively working on this issue.

Bill Sapp noted that “this is a big deal.” SELC was currently addressing depressional wetlands in the southeast (e.g., Carolina Bays). Partners were urged to either join their effort or file their own comments. Additional information on the issue may be found at

Also for more information and links to how to comment with the EPA, see Proposed EPA Water rule.

See the PDF. for the rest of the report.

Here’s another excerpt:

The Partners then broke into small groups to review the recommendations in the 2013 GWC Report and make changes — additions, deletions and modifications. The small groups were:

  • GWC Mission and Principles plus outside the box issues (discussion leaders: Sally Bethea and Gil Rogers)
  • Recommendation # 1: Maintain water as a public resource, not a private commodity to be sold or traded (discussion leaders: Todd Holbrook and Jennette Gayer)
  • Recommendation # 2: Restore and protect healthy natural systems which are essential for human and environmental well-being and economic prosperity (discussion leaders: Steve Caley and Joe Cook)
  • Recommendation # 3: Provide future generations with a heritage of plentiful clean water because water is an essential resource (discussion leaders: April Ingle and Ben Emanuel)
  • Recommendation # 4: Make clean water a statewide priority (discussion leaders: Emily Markesteyn and Mark Woodall)
  • Recommendation # 5: Ensure that water conservation and efficiency are the cornerstones of water supply planning (discussion leaders: Gordon Rogers and Laura Hartt)
  • Recommendation # 6: Establish common sense water management policies (discussion leaders: Chris Manganiello and Neill Herring)

The recommendations were then posted and reviewed by all participants. Issues were identified and resolved.