In 1973, in response to growing concerns about the Chattahoochee River, the Georgia General Assembly enacted the Metropolitan River Protection Act (Georgia Code 12-5-440 et seq.). It established a 2000-foot Corridor along both banks of the Chattahoochee and its impoundments for the 48 miles between Buford Dam and Peachtree Creek. The act was amended in 1998 to extend the Corridor an additional 36 miles to the downstream limits of Fulton and Douglas counties (the limit of the Atlanta region).
This protection is needed because the Chattahoochee River, the largest stream in metro Atlanta, has long been one of the region’s most valuable resources:
- It is the region’s primary source of drinking water.
- It is a major recreation area.
- It is one of the southern-most trout streams in the United States, and one of the very few located in a major metropolitan area.
The act requires the Atlanta Regional Commission to adopt a plan to protect the Chattahoochee River Corridor and to review development proposals for consistency with the plan.
The act requires local governments along the corridor to implement the plan by issuing permits based on ARC findings, monitoring land-disturbing activity in the corridor and enforcing the act and the plan. Under the act, land-disturbing activity in the corridor must comply with the adopted plan to be legal.