CRBI: legal settlement funds used to assist in the preservation of 469 acres in Dawson County

Published in Rome News Tribune June 2010

CRBI: legal settlement funds used to assist in the preservation of 469 acres in Dawson County

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Georgia’s protected lands grew by 469 acres earlier this summer thanks in part to the Coosa River Basin Initiative’s 2007 appeal of state and federal environmental permits issued for a 90-acre retail development in Canton, according to a press release.

CRBI, with assistance from the non-profit environmental law firm, GreenLaw, reached a settlement with the developers of the Canton Marketplace retail center at the intersection of Ga. 20 and I-575 that included $500,000 for land acquisition in the Upper Etowah River Basin to protect streams and federally protected fish species.

Last month, Gov. Sonny Perdue announced the acquisition of the 469 acres of prime conservation land in Dawson County, which includes two miles of the Amicalola Creek and its tributaries, by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Georgia Land Conservation Program (GLCP).

The Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia which has been using the $500,000 settlement since 2007 to acquire land and conservation easements in the Etowah River Basin contributed $150,000 to the $3.3 million purchase price.

The tract provides a critical connection between two previously separate tracts of the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area, according to the CRBI.

The property protects a vital segment of Amicalola Creek that supports at least 27 native fish species, including the federally protected Cherokee, Etowah and amber darters.

“We were very excited that we could play a small role in preserving this land,” said Joe Cook, CRBI Executive Director and Riverkeeper. “Not only will it provide refuge for threatened and endangered wildlife, it will expand land available for recreational uses.”

The Nature Conservancy in Georgia acquired the Amicalola Creek property from the Forestar Real Estate Group in 2008 at a reduced price and held it until the state could arrange funding.

The Nature Conservancy contributed $2.15 million through a discounted sale of the property to the state. Contributions from a variety of other public and private partners – the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Robert H. Dobbs, Jr. Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, Trout Unlimited, the DNR, the GLCP and anonymous private donors – helped the state purchase the property.


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