Southern Conservation Trust favors SPLOST passage

Southern Conservation Trust (SCT) urges voters to carefully consider the core stormwater infrastructure SPLOST on the November election ballot.

The SPLOST referendum would authorize funding for key projects to help preserve the natural condition of lands in Fayette County as well as help address low flow issues in the Flint River Basin.

At the heart of our SCT mission is conserving land and conserving water quality and quantity goes hand-in-hand with the mission. Ensuring each of us, as well as future generations, have affordable, clean and adequate water supplies is crucial.

Impacts of the Core Infrastructure SPLOST:

• Regulations included in federal, state and local acts require county action. Costly compliance must be accomplished. http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-safe-drinking-water-act

• The SPLOST will provide funds to accomplish regulatory compliance and help to avoid compliance penalties or additional costs to residents. See county project list at www.fayettecountyga.gov

• Stormwater infrastructure is one portion of the overall ability of citizens to have clean, adequate, affordable water. SCT works diligently to conserve wetlands and stream buffers which provide natural filtration and groundwater recharge and storage. Developed areas require stormwater infrastructure to do the work that no longer is completed naturally. Unbridled impervious runoff allows pollutants to be directly deposited into water sources creating additional need for chemical treatment by water utilities to accomplish potable water supplies.

• Outdated water management contributed to the Flint River being named #2 on the American Rivers 2013 Most Endangered American Rivers listing. Visit www.americanrivers.org/FlintRiver

• Appropriate infrastructure helps restore Flint River low flows, stops flooding, contributes to clean, adequate water supplies and contributes to healthy, dynamic systems and communities.

• Allows local towns and cities to complete their own projects in an economically challenged time. http://www.fayetteville-ga.gov/

Although water management is a key component to quality, adequate water for our community, we ALL have a stake in the vital, complex issue of our water.

Although drought cannot be impacted, we can choose to impact where possible.

The SPLOST for infrastructure is one area we can impact along with addressing urban demand, land planning, low return rates, legislation and personal demand.

Support for SPLOST funding means The Ridge Nature Area will move closer to reality for residents of Fayetteville and Fayette County. The city of Fayetteville property, formerly known as the P.K.Dixon property, is a 308-acre property which could be to Fayetteville what Line Creek is to Peachtree City.

Located between Whitewater and Gingercake Creeks, SCT envisions an area where people could enjoy various recreational activities, including walking trails, a picnic area, biking trails, and a potential put-in for canoes that would allow water access to Starr’s Mill. Passing of the SPLOST will provide $50,000 toward the security gate and park entrance.

This funding only represents 9 percent of the total $530,970 first phase development but is crucial to opening the park. Additional resources are being provided through community and grant support and in-kind services. When funding for the security gate and entrance are attained, work can be completed and every citizen will benefit from a nature area and its many natural features.

Keeping The Ridge in its natural state means that this part of Fayette County will never be developed with impervious surfaces that contribute to stormwater runoff, saving the cost of expensive stormwater runoff construction, maintenance and repair for this area in Fayette County.

Southern Conservation Trust is a community land trust founded in 1993 by Fayette County residents eager to preserve greenspace as our community develops. We protect farms and forests, environmentally sensitive land, streams and wetlands, valuable wildlife habitat and scenic greenspace in the fast growing counties south of metro Atlanta. SCT has renewed its focus on conserving wetlands and stream buffers in efforts to impact water issues long term.

Some of the most important conservation lands that our organization owns or manages are along the Flint River’s headwater streams: Flat Creek, Line Creek, Whitewater Creek and others. By preserving the beautiful forests and wetlands along these streams, we and our volunteers and donors are proud to be helping preserve water quality and healthy flows in the Flint River system.

SCT currently owns, manages and protects more than 1,600 acres, including four public use nature areas: Line Creek Nature Area and Flat Creek Nature Area in Peachtree City, Sams Lake Sanctuary south of Fayetteville and Morgan Grove in south Fayette County. SCT’s fifth public nature area, The Ridge, is now in development.

Pam Young, Executive Director Southern Conservation Trust
Southern Conservation Trust
Peachtree City, Ga.

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