State and Local Efforts in Managing Riparian Buffer Zones
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The importance of protecting Georgia's riparian systems cannot be overestimated. An adequate supply of safe, clean drinking water - much of which is drawn from the state's rivers - is necessary to protect the health and welfare of the public, as well as to provide a basis for the state's future growth and development. Riparian systems also provide unique recreational opportunities and important wildlife habitat. Land use along streams can have a profound effect on river water quality and the health of riparian ecosystems. Unregulated development along stream banks can result in sediment and other pollutants running into the stream, and can also increase the frequency and severity of flooding. With the state experiencing unprecedented growth, new development is inevitably encroaching on the state's riparian systems. Therefore, management of land use in these areas has become a critical issue.