"Priorities for making coastal Georgia more sustainable"

Highlights of  "Toward a Sustainable Coast" (Table of issues and needed actions).

1. Improve use of information in environmental monitoring, enforcement, and response.

  • Expand existing sampling of water, sediments, and fish to achieve more comprehensive assessment.
  • Delegate specific environmental permitting follow-through responsibilities to appropriate staff of DNR/EPD.
  • Post all results of resource sampling and permit monitoring in media in readily understandable language.
  • Alert potentially affected residents and property-owners about permit violations and substandard conditions.
  • Use results of monitoring and regulatory permit review as guidance for environmental research priorities.

    2. Build stewardship into environmental regulations by using desired conditions as the basis for protecting resources, instead of minimum acceptable conditions.

  • Use best possible science to determine instream-flow requirements for healthy ecosystem support in rivers and estuaries under all conditions, including drought and apply uniformly as standards for permit decisions.
  • Restore wetlands functions on forestry and agricultural lands using valid best management practices.
  • Implement a comprehensive water conservation program, including further reductions in industrial uses.
  • When impact assessment information is inconclusive but conditions are risky, simply do not issue permits.

    3. Base future development on more complete assessment of soils, hydrology, habitat and other natural features.
  • Establish local growth criteria, including standards for water quality, ecosystem health and social diversity.
  • Get serious about implementing soil erosion controls with better local tech support, penalties for violators.
  • Adopt land-use ordinances that encourage use of landscape buffers, retention of storm-water runoff.
  • Diversify economic development within the limits of environmental support capacity and carefully track it.
  • Promote compatible nature-based business based on assessment of markets, environment, and job needs.
  • ^ Top