News | October 22, 2015

Agreement preserves crucial Georgia wetlands

More than 4,000 acres along Georgia’s Altamaha River will be preserved thanks to an agreement reached this week between the state, conservation groups, and developers.

SELC worked with the Altamaha Riverkeeper and other concerned parties to shift the plans for this broad swath of ecologically important land, rich in wetlands and longleaf pine, from construction to preservation.

One of the last substantial undeveloped tracts in the area, the land was slated to be sold to commercial and residential developers but will now become part of the adjacent Altamaha Wildlife Management Area, shown in the map below.

The land is being purchased by the Nature Conservancy of Georgia for $8 million to prevent development interests from moving forward. The Georgia Board of Natural Resources voted to pay the Nature Conservancy a discounted price of $3.8 million for the 4,100 acres and will finalize the agreement with a combination of federal grants, state bonds, and private donations.

The property will be owned by Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must approve any future land use.

Protecting the Altamaha tract shields the surrounding freshwater wetlands and tidal salt marsh from polluted runoff, and will add 5 miles of protected habitat along the Altamaha River.