Skip to Main

March 25, 2022

Congresswoman Bourdeaux, Georgia Dems Introduce Legislation to Protect & Preserve the Chattahoochee River

WASHINGTON, DC Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), joined by her Georgia colleagues Reps. Hank Johnson (GA-04), Nikema Williams (GA-05), Lucy McBath (GA-06), and David Scott (GA-13), introduced The Chattahoochee River Act, which will help improve water quality, protect essential public works, and restore ecosystems along the river. This critical water source provides Georgia’s drinking water supply and supports the agricultural industry, power generation, and more.

Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux said, “Georgians depend on the Chattahoochee River to meet so many critical needs. This legislation will ensure we protect and preserve our drinking water and natural resources for future generations.”

“Georgia’s waterways are vital to our health, recreation and wildlife – and there’s no river more important to Atlanta than the Chattahoochee,” said Congressman Hank Johnson. “Protecting and restoring this vital resource should be one of our top priorities in Congress. I’m pleased to join my colleagues in supporting The Chattahoochee River Act and look forward to working with our state and local partners to restore and revitalize this critical resource by developing a Comprehensive Chattahoochee River Basin Restoration Plan.” 

“I joined a meeting of the Conley Hills Elementary School Junior Beta Club this week where we discussed environmental issues,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams. “Each of my young constituents shared their fears about the future of our natural resources. Protecting our resources for future generations will take everyone working together now. A clean Chattahoochee River is vital for a healthy Fifth Congressional District. I am proud to cosponsor this legislation so that the entire Fifth District and beyond has clean drinking water, no matter your ZIP Code, no matter your bank account.” 

“Necessities like clean air and clean water are imperative for the health of our children, the health of our families, and the health of our communities,” said Congresswoman Lucy McBath. “Not only is the Chattahoochee River critical to metro Atlanta for drinking water and agricultural uses, it also provides families a place for recreation and generates millions of dollars and thousands of good local jobs. I am proud to work with my colleagues to invest in much-needed restoration and protection projects for our state’s longest river and its surrounding ecosystem so that the Chattahoochee River can continue supporting our community and local economy while remaining a beautiful and pristine local resource.”

“Decades of cross-jurisdictional collaboration in Georgia prove that when government partners and our allies put their resources behind conservation projects along the Chattahoochee River, we can accomplish more together,” said Congressman David Scott. “Still, there is much left to do. With renewed investment in flood protection and ecosystem restoration, the waterway revitalization measures outlined in the Chattahoochee River Act will provide meaningful support to maintain and improve the Chattahoochee River Basin for long-term sustainability, grow our local economies and drive change across metro-Atlanta communities while protecting this critical natural resource.”

The legislation is endorsed by the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Environment Georgia, and Trust for Public Land. 

“The Chattahoochee River provides drinking water, beautiful scenery, recreational opportunities and critical habitat for so many in Georgia and Alabama. We applaud the introduction of the Chattahoochee River Act by Rep. Bourdeaux and are grateful for the bill’s forward-looking framework of cooperation and conservation. This act will go a long way toward helping improve and protect this great river from threats like climate change and biodiversity loss,” said Jennifer Duenas of Environment Georgia

“The Chattahoochee River Act will provide critical financial support for local governments working to protect and restore the Chattahoochee River,” said Katherine Zitsch, Managing Director of Natural Resources at the Atlanta Regional Commission

“Trust for Public Land is grateful for Congresswoman Bourdeaux’s ongoing leadership in protecting and activating the Chattahoochee River.  The Chattahoochee River Act will provide additional support to the region’s effort to create the Chattahoochee RiverLands, a 100-Mile park from Lake Lanier to Chattahoochee Bend State Park,” said George Dusenbury, Vice President Southern Region & Georgia State Director, Trust for Public Land

“Chattahoochee Riverkeeper is excited to support the Chattahoochee River Act,” said Jason Ulseth, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. “The Chattahoochee River Program will encourage co-operation between federal and state agencies, and stakeholders. Chattahoochee Riverkeeper looks forward to working alongside Congresswoman Bourdeaux to protect and restore a river millions of people depend on.”

According to the Georgia River Network, the Chattahoochee supplies 70 percent of metro Atlanta’s drinking water. The river is also a key source of water for farmers and agriculture, and it’s a key source of power through hydroelectric dams. As of 2013, the state of Georgia has approved more than 6,700 water withdrawal permits for agricultural use.

In 2019, the National Park Service reported visitors to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area added more than $200 million to the local economy, supporting over 2,000 local jobs. According to Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, more than 1,000 miles of waterway within the Chattahoochee watershed do not meet water quality standards, creating potential health risks to both humans and wildlife.

The legislation was also introduced by U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock. Here’s what people are saying about the legislation.

“This legislation builds upon the successful efforts of improving Chattahoochee River water quality during the last fifteen years. It is hard to overstate the importance of this river to Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. When enacted, this bill will provide Georgia and Alabama with new tools to continue the vital conservation and restoration of this precious natural resource for all users,” said Katherine Moore, Georgia Conservancy President.

“The Chattahoochee River Act will benefit all citizens across the watershed, which is so very important for educational organizations like the Chattahoochee Nature Center. We are fortunate that our campus is adjacent to such a fantastic natural resource as the Chattahoochee River that continues to inspire our visitors and our staff. Everything we do at CNC works to connect people with nature and the River. We thank Senator Ossoff and Senator Warnock for their work on this important legislation,” said Natasha B. Rice, President & CEO of the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

Background: The Chattahoochee River supplies 70 percent of metro Atlanta’s drinking water. It is a key source of water for farmers and agriculture. As of 2013, Georgia has approved more than 6,700 water withdrawal permits for agriculture use.

The National Park Service reported that in 2019, the visitors to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area added more than $200 million to the local economy, supporting over 2,000 local jobs. But according to the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, more than 1000 miles of waterway within the watershed do not meet water quality standards. 

The Chattahoochee River Act, which is the House companion of the Senate version introduced by Senators Ossoff and Warnock, would instruct the Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with State and local governments and affected stakeholders, to develop a Comprehensive Chattahoochee River Basin Restoration Plan. 

Subsequently, it would provide design and construction assistance for water-related resource protection and restoration projects affecting the Chattahoochee River Basin (based on the comprehensive plan) including projects for:

  • sediment and erosion control;
  • protection of eroding shorelines;
  • ecosystem restoration, including restoration of submerged aquatic vegetation;
  • protection of essential public works;
  • beneficial uses of dredged material;
  • other related projects that may enhance the living resources of the Chattahoochee River Basin.

In addition to Senators Jon Ossoff and Rev. Reverend Raphael Warnock, Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux is joined by Reps. Hank Johnson (GA-04), Nikema Williams (GA-05), Lucy McBath (GA-06), and David Scott (GA-13).

This bill has been endorsed by the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Environment Georgia, and Trust for Public Land 

###

Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lives with her family in Suwanee, Georgia, and represents Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the 117th Congress. Carolyn is a strong advocate for affordable health care, and economic recovery that puts workers and small businesses first, and investing in her district’s world-class public education system and transportation infrastructure. 

Georgia’s fast-changing 7th Congressional District includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and cities Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Sugar Hill, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Grayson, and Buford