In 1998, the City of Atlanta signed a Combined
Sewer Overflow (CSO) Consent Decree (Consent Decree), which
resulted from the settlement of an enforcement action taken against
the City by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Georgia
Department of Environmental Protection (EPD), the Upper Chattahoochee
Riverkeeper Fund, Inc., the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Inc., and
W. Robert Hancock, Jr., for violations of the Federal Water Pollution
Control Act and the Georgia Water Quality Control Act. In the signing
of the Consent Decree, the City of Atlanta committed to several
projects designed to improve water quality in Metro Atlanta and
downstream, including the Greenway Acquisition Project. The Greenway
Acquisition Project is referenced in the Consent Decree as a Supplemental
Environmental Project (SEP).
The $25 million Greenway Acquisition Project is to be implemented
in the City of Atlanta and fourteen (14) counties in Metro Atlanta
through March, 2007. The intent of the Greenway Acquisition Project
is to acquire streamside "buffer" areas to protect streamside
areas from development and to provide a vegetated filter for surface
runoff. The overarching goal of the project is to protect water
quality by reducing erosion and non-point source pollution; it is
During the time period of January 1999 to March 2001, the City,
with assistance from a 10-member citizens'
advisory committee (SAC) and the public, developed a Greenway
Acquisition Plan to guide the land acquisition and management
efforts along selected stream segments of "Designated
Streams." As defined by the Consent Decree, "Designated
Streams" include "(i) the Chattahoochee River corridor
from the crossing of Interstate 75 in Fulton County to the crossing
of U.S. 27 in Heard County, including all tributary streams in that
corridor; (ii) All tributaries of the Chattahoochee River originating
in or flowing through the City of Atlanta from their headwaters
or the point they enter the City to their confluence with the Chattahoochee
River, including but not limit to Peachtree Creek, Nancy Creek,
Proctor Creek and Utoy Creek; (iii) The South River corridor for
its entire length, including all tributary streams in that corridor;
and (iv) All tributaries of the South River originating in or flowing
through the City of Atlanta from their headwaters or the point they
enter the City to their confluence with the South River, including,
but not limited to, Intrenchment Creek."
Properties that have been targeted for acquisition along selected
stream segments of designated streams have been assigned a priority
of 1, 2, or 3 (Priority-1 being most important), based on a perceived
potential of an individual property to protect water quality and
the environment. Currently underway, the acquisition effort is focused
on the acquisition of Priority-1 properties. Acquisition efforts
will move to Priority-2 and Priority-3 properties as funds and opportunity
Ways to Participate
There are several ways in which an owner of a targeted property
can participate in the Greenway Acquisition Project: (1) donate
an entire property or a portion thereof; (2) donate a conservation
easement; (3) sell a property or a portion thereof at a bargain
price or at fair market value; or (4) sell a conservation easement
at a bargain price or at fair market value. Due to the large project
area and the limited amount of Greenway Acquisition Project
funds, the City of Atlanta encourages donations, bargain sales,
and conservation easements to increase the amount of streamside
property that is protected.
To assess a targeted property owner's desired level of participation,
a representative of the City makes initial contact by mail, and
invites the targeted property owner to an area-wide meeting. At
the meeting, the targeted property owner can ask questions about
the Greenway Acquisition Project and indicate whether or not he/she
would be interested in further site-specific discussions. If agreed,
a City representative will then work with individual property owners
to determine a desired method and level of participation. All property
owner participation is voluntary. If you are interested in participating
in the Greenway Acquisition Project, you can email us at email@example.com, or contact us directly.
Once acquired, it is the responsibility of the City of Atlanta
(as mandated by the Consent Decree), to maintain properties acquired
under the Greenway Acquisition Project (Greenway Properties) in
perpetuity. The City must maintain Greenway Properties in a natural,
undisturbed state to protect water quality, animal and plant habitats,
and wetlands along Metro Atlanta rivers and creeks, from erosion,
flood damage, and clear-cutting.
Specifically, the City must perform the following:
- Maintain all Greenway Properties it acquires in a natural,
- Inspect all Greenway Properties at a minimum of twice a year
to verify compliance with the guidelines established in the Greenway
Acquisition Plan, as well as agreements established on a case-by-case
basis through individual conservation easement negotiations.
- Take corrective care actions upon discovery of any prohibited
activity during inspections
The following activities are prohibited on Greenway Properties
and are activities inspectors look for during routine inspections:
- Burning, burying, or depositing of waste.
- Operation of wheeled or tracked equipment.*
- Construction of roads.*
- Handling, storage, application, or disposal of hazardous materials.
- Dumping of debris, litter, waste, or other trash.
- Disturbance of waters, including any wetland.*
- Purposeful introduction of exotic plants or species.
- Unauthorized public entry.
- Building or construction activities, except as part of a permitted
public access development or public utility.
- Alteration of the natural stream channel and/or streamflow.*
- Vegetative manicuring along the stream side such as mowing,
cutting tree limbs, and/or trimming of vegetation.*
- Livestock and equestrian facilities
*Exceptions to these prohibited items include necessary actions
to provide for public safety, emergency operations, to prevent spread
of vegetative disease, and as part of an activity authorized by
the City or other responsible government agency.
This project was undertaken in connection with the settlement of
an enforcement action taken jointly by the United States Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) the Georgia Environmental Protection Division
(EPD), and Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Fund, Inc., the Chattachoochee
RiverKeeper Inc., and W. Robert Hancock, Jr., for violations of
the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Georgia Water Quality
If you are interested in participating in the Greenway Acquisition
Project, please contact