When Sidney Lanier penned his famous poem, “格林沼泽,” in 1875, he extolled the beauty 和 wild scenery of Georgia’s salt marsh. Though he feared this incredible l和scape would be spoiled, Georgia’s coast has remained largely intact 和 even flourished at a time when many of the East Coast’s dynamic salt marshes have been lost or critically impaired.
It’s no accident that Georgia’s coast is among the healthiest in the nation. 因为我们当地人的远见卓识, 州政府和联邦政府, along with the advocacy of concerned citizens 和 dedicated environmental organizations, our salt marshes continue to be one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet – 和 they remain a place sought for recreation 和 relaxation. Their protection has been an economic 和 ecological success.
Our salt marshes play a key role in sustaining Georgia’s economy. They are nursery areas for commercially important species of fish 和 shellfish, 包括虾类, 蓝蟹, 鲷鱼, 石斑鱼及其他鱼鳍及贝类. Recreation 和 tourism are also a key part of Georgia’s coastal economy, 每年价值超过20亿美元.
And they are critical to the state’s biodiversity 和 wildlife, including several endangered 和 threatened species that are commonly found in Georgia’s salt marshes.
For 40 years, Georgia’s Erosion 和 Sedimentation Act (E&年代行为) of 1975 has been instrumental in creating 和 maintaining the coastal environment that we have today. 对于每一个糟糕的发展, one can point to an endless horizon of protected beach, 山地森林和盐沼. E&美国法案保护了我们的海岸线, fostered tourism 和 incubated our commercial 和 recreational fisheries.
On April 22, 2014 (Earth Day), the state Attorney General determined that a key element of the E&年代行为, which the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) had understood to require a 25-foot vegetative buffer between our salt marsh 和 upl和 development, 不是可执行的. 作为一个后果, the buffer that had long protected Georgia’s salt marshes from erosion 和 direct pollution no longer existed. Our salt marshes had lost an extremely important protective measure.
For the months following the state Attorney General’s determination, the hg8868皇冠登录 worked with our conservation partners, coastal legislators 和 concerned citizens to introduce legislation that would advance our goal of restoring the 25-foot salt marsh buffer 和 providing EPD with the statute authority to enforce the buffer.
即将进入2015年的立法会议, the hg8868皇冠登录 maintained four criteria that we felt were necessary to any marsh buffer legislation. 这四个标准是:
- That EPD is provided with statutory authority to enforce a 25-foot salt marsh buffer;
- That the language in any proposed legislation be confined to salt marsh buffers 和 did not allow for any negative changes to Georgia code related to the control of soil erosion 和 sedimentation along fresh water bodies;
- That legislators 和 stakeholders from coastal Georgia districts are the leading voices in finding salt marsh buffer legislation; 和
- That a bill restoring the 25-foot marsh buffer 和 providing for its enforcement be introduced, 2015年通过并签署, ending the period where Georgia has no defined or enforceable salt marsh buffer.
In February, during the 2015 legislative session, 参议院法案101 介绍了. Though not perfect in its original language, 参议院法案101 was led by coastal legislators 和 would restore the 25-foot buffer 和 provide for its enforcement. 议案由…提出 参议员本·沃森(R-1) 萨凡纳和 sponsored by coastal legislators 参议员莱斯特·杰克逊(民主党-2) 萨凡纳和 威廉·利贡(延长三) 还有布伦瑞克 参议员汤米·威廉姆斯(R-19), 罗斯Tolleson (R-20) 和 比尔Coswert (R-46). The hg8868皇冠登录 would like to thank these Senators for introducing 参议院法案101.
在会话期间, two amendments were made to SB 101 that strengthened definitions 和 clarified enforcement language. These improvements were added to the bill due in large part to the work of our key conservation partners at the 格鲁吉亚水联盟 和 dedicated members of the Georgia House, including Representatives 黛比·巴克纳(r - 137), 杰夫•琼斯(r - 167), 约翰·梅多斯(R-5) 和 罗恩·斯蒂芬斯(r - 164).
支持修改后的法案, which provided EPD with greater enforcement of the buffer, 乔治亚保护协会和 乔治亚商会 issued a joint letter of support 和 provided it to every single member of the Georgia House of Representatives. 一个由修正案发起的联盟. 罗恩·斯蒂芬斯说 从未见过 在他18年的众议院任期内. 2015年3月底, 还有几天就要上映了, the amended SB 101 passed the House 和 was approved by the Senate.
The passage 和 signing of 参议院法案101 by Governor Nathan Deal is a bipartisan victory for Georgia’s vast 和 dynamic salt marsh, 和 adds to our state's historic protection of our coast. The final bill was the result of deep compromise in which many proposals not in the best interest of protecting the marsh were struck from the language.
In continuing our efforts to establish an enforceable marsh buffer, the hg8868皇冠登录 和 our partners will work with the EPD as they develop the rules 和 procedures put forth in 参议院法案101.