The Continuing Evolution of Stormwater Management in Georgia
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The new millennium brought many new changes, and stormwater management was no exception in the State of Georgia. The new millennium has effected change in many arenas, not the least of which is stormwater management. Minimum compliance is no longer the standard, and stormwater is no longer an afterthought for community planning. For example: 2001 – The State of Georgia completed its Stormwater Management Manual (GSMM), providing a methodology for selecting and implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) for new development, in accordance with the goal of improving water quality through reduced sediment loads. 2003 – Nationally, Phase II of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program led cities and counties (86 in Georgia) to develop stormwater management programs. 2006 – Stringent measures in the Etowah River Basin were adopted through the Etowah Habitat Conservation Plan to prevent the “taking” of several endangered darters. Over the past few years in the Atlanta metropolitan area, the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (MNGWPD) developed six model stormwater management ordinances, addressing post-development stormwater management, floodplain management, conservation subdivision / open space development, illicit discharge and illegal connections, litter control, and stream buffer protection. The paper focuses on causes, effects, and remedies leading to the establishment and refinement of administrative procedures, professional trust, proactive approaches, and the elimination of plan implementation obstacles. As a community, we must pool our resources to help enable a positive return on our endeavors. The goal is not only to continually improve the protection and restoration of our streams and watersheds, but also to improve the process.