NANFA-- River Use Issues in GA/AL/FL

Bruce Stallsmith (
Thu, 14 Dec 2000 22:06:06 -0500

On a more serious note than whether or not Moon drinks mouthwash in the
swamps, an AP article appeared in today's Huntsville Times in Huntsville,
AL, entitled "Alabama, Georgia agree to share one river basin." There's an
ongoing dispute between AL & GA, also involving FL, about rights to the
water in the Coosa/Tallapoosa/Alabama River basin, and also in the
Appalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint River basin.

This is some serious politics that is not immediately connected to electoral
politics. Basically, Atlanta, GA, is growing so fast that it's sponging up
all of the regional water resources that it can, not unlike Los Angeles and
Las Vegas over the past 100 years in the southwest. This means damning
rivers and forming reservoirs, a process usually detrimental to indigenous
fishes and aquatic ecosystems. Alabama is concerned about flow in the Coosa
River, esp., since the upper reaches of the Coosa in GA have largely been
turned into the Carters and Allatoona "lakes". This leads to water flow
problems in the Coosa in AL, which in truth is partially damned already such
as the Weiss Reservoir in Cherokee County which has flooded the lower Little

So whether you're like me and think George W is an unmitigated dope, or
others on this list (Hi, Ray & Bruce!) who think otherwise, this kind of
struggle over water rights & uses is where much of the political action is
at for native fishes. This kind of public works vandalism is more pronounced
in the southwest, but even in well-watered AL/GA it's an issue. There is
Federal jurisdiction over these issues, but it's usually negotiated between
states. Habitat alteration from these projects is usually profound and
awful, unless you think substantial public resources should be put into
supporting largemouth bass populations (which I doubt anyone on this list

So, just a thought; there's politics, and then there's politics.

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL

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