Watershed Management for Lake Lanier: Perspectives on Inter-governmental Implementation
Baughman, Douglas S.
Horton, Mary E.
Rivers, Robert R.
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In March 2000, the City of Gainesville and Hall County, in cooperation with Forsyth County, completed the Community Watershed Assessment. The project outlined recommendations for improving or maintaining the water quality and biotic integrity of the tributaries entering Lake Lanier, as well as the tributaries to the North Oconee and Etowah Rivers. The three governments have continued to cooperate during the implementation phase. Hall County and the City of Gainesville have been working closely to ensure consistency in watershed management and efficiency in implementing the plan. The watershed management plan included recommendations for additional storm water controls, stream buffers, and increased enforcement of sedimentation and erosion control measures. Implementation of the watershed management plan required programmatic changes in existing municipal policies, potential organizational changes, and ordinance revisions. Hall County has developed a single watershed protection ordinance to incorporate many of the requirements for watershed management, including storm water quality and quantity controls, an approach for managing new development, and a requirement for stream buffers. The City of Gainesville has taken a similar approach and is revising the municipal code to incorporate these requirements. In addition, the City and Hall County have developed an integrated watershed monitoring program that includes both water quality and biological monitoring, stream walks to identify potential water quality and habitat degradation, and an adopt-a-stream program to solicit public participation.