The West Georgia Regional Reservoir Wetlands Impact Assessment and Mitigation
Barber, J. Patrick
Hawkins, David E.
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The Georgia Department of Natural Resources contracted with Dames & Moore in October of 1989 to provide site selection, environmental assessment and Section 404 permit application services in support of a planned water supply reservoir to serve parts of a five-county west Georgia area consisting of Haralson, Douglas, Carroll, Polk and Paulding Counties. A major issue in the selection and approval of a site for water supply reservoir development was the extent of potential wetlands impacts. The wetlands study was conducted in two phases. In Phase I, candidate reservoir sites and areas were evaluated for water supply yield, environmental impact potential, and cost of development (including mitigation). At this stage, wetlands were identified from available National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) maps, county soils survey maps and aerial photography. Brief field reconnaissance visits were used to verify or modify these data, using as guidance the 1989 "Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands" (Federal Manual). Several sites were identified as having fatal flaws and these were eliminated from further consideration. For example, sites with more than 500 acres of wetlands were eliminated in this manner since viable sites with substantially fewer wetlands were available. Phase II studies consisted of a more detailed assessment of environmental effects, including substantial field investigation of biological, wetland and archaeological resources, for two basic dam locations and a range of potential normal and flood pool elevations along the Tallapoosa River and tributaries. One basic reservoir configuration (Site 1) was a subset of a larger configuration (Site 0).