Moving forward for a healthy Flint River

When Georgia’s Flint River appeared on our America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2013 list, American Rivers and our allies were in the middle of a legislative battle that spanned two full sessions of the Georgia General Assembly. It was a long, hard fight, but in the end, Flint Riverkeeper and many Georgia Water Coalition partners including American Rivers were successful in bringing about major improvements to a bad piece of legislation, the Flint River Drought Protection Act. A vastly improved bill (though not an entirely necessary piece of legislation) passed the Georgia House and Senate in March of this year.

Flint River, GA | Joe Cook

Flint River, GA | Joe Cook

That said, there is plenty of work still to do to set the Flint on a path toward recovery. The Most Endangered listing called attention to the over-allocation of the Flint’s waters—a fundamental problem that the Drought Protection Act doesn’t really address. But as soon as another dry year arrives, it will become even clearer that a long-term solution needs to be found.

Thankfully, this year has been relatively normal on the rainfall gauge so far. But now that it’s midsummer, the river is dropping. In the upper Flint, this means that very soon, the river will be too low to be worth paddling. In the past, this point typically arrived closer to autumn, but due to the damage the river system has suffered, it now arrives earlier in the year—even in a year with normal rainfall.

And that’s just one of many storylines we highlighted in our Running Dry report on the upper Flint River, which came out last year. What we’ve seen since then is that the Running Dry report has very effectively changed the conversation. It’s begun to focus decision-makers’ attention on the low-flow problems plaguing the upper Flint. We’re hard at work right now on taking the next steps, mapping out ways to begin restoring healthy flows in the river in collaboration with the water suppliers in the basin and a wide array of other partners.

It’s our hope that State of Georgia officials will see the need for a holistic, basin-wide, science-based approach to restoring flows in the Flint. We’ve got to manage the waters of the Flint River basin sustainably, and keep all of the many people who depend on the Flint in mind, for today and future generations.

30 Responses to “Moving forward for a healthy Flint River”


Coke drains a lot of fresh water from Lake Leiner. Water for profit. That is bad for America since it is sold around the world. All of fresh water needs to be protected. It is rare as the world’s corporations, population and weapons pollute it.

Robin Peterson

Rivers are very important for all lives whether human or wildlife, do what is right protect the Flint river.

Mari Mennel-Bell

Please do all you can to protect American rivers!

Gloria Clements

Since clean water is essential to all life we must make certain we take a scientific approach to managing the water in the Flint River. It is the life-support system for many thousands of wildlife, plants and humans. Our natural resources are like a bank account; if not managed carefully and expertly, they will be gone. The difference is that with a bank account, there may be a hope of replenishing at least some of it, but with natural resources, once they are gone, we are out of luck. When natural resources are not managed with scientific expertise, we push not only wildlife, but the human race closer to extinction.

    Henry Clay Childs

    May I commend and second your fine thoughts.

    Rick Holton

    Well stated. Private landowners showing unified concern , causes corporations and institutions to pay attention.

d. mcinnes

There is an urgent need for a holistic, basin-wide, science-based approach to restoring flows in the Flint. We’ve got to manage the waters of the Flint River basin sustainably, and keep all of the many people who depend on the Flint in mind, for today and future generations.

Esther Garvett

Water is a necessity. Rivers are the life line for people, animals and plants. It needs to be protected for the survival of all living things.

Tina Clark

Sustainability is the key to everything. Thank you.

montie hamby

The problems in the Flint river are at a critical point .Its time to work on action for a sustainable basin managment plan that prtect and interest in the Flint

Mickey Youmans

Just one more battle in a state run by Republican special interest groups. For Gods sake Georgia, please do the right thing for once.

Carmen Elisa Bonilla-Jones

When the seas and the rivers have no more fish, when the earth can no longer provide nourishment, when the trees no longer give fruits then we will realize that money cannot be eaten! Water is not an optional treat; it is life’s blood. Water is inseparable from all life. Through the centuries water has always been a right of the people. The governments must understand the importance of clean water and keeping the lakes, rivers and oceans of the world clean and potable. Our next world war will be over WATER if something is not done to protect all the water sources. If we, the humans of this planet, do not start making radical changes in our life styles there will be no humans in the 22nd Century. When will the destruction of the earth stop? Probably, when humanity is dead and gone from its lack of fore sight and caring! Whether you like it or not you will have to answer to your children, your grandchildren, the world and the human race for helping to cause the annihilation of all living things on this planet by not caring enough to do the right thing.

Laird lorenz

Let us all work together and preserve the Flint River–now is the time to act, every river, every stream and creek is under environmental stress–partnerships are required to protect our most valuable resource, we are asked to be good stewards, nothing more will do!!

Irena Franchi

The Flint River provides water for over one million people, 10,000 farms, unique wildlife, and 300 miles of exceptional fishing and paddling. But this endangered river needs your help. Tell the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to manage the river’s water equitably and sustainably, for the benefit of all river functions, water users, and future generations.

tina gardner

vote democrat in November….that’s the only way to save our environment !!! profit over people is the republicans motto….show them that is wrong by going to the polls

Jean Auris

We who live here now and enjoy rivers and streams doesn’t end with us. What about 10 years from now. Too many selfies that don’t understand. The world keeps moving and so do rivers if we humans allow them. Too many corporations depend on their advantage and don’t care about future generations. Clean water is going to be a real problem.

Bette-Burr Fenley

please help save the flint river. thank you

Eric West

Water is the most important issue on our planet today. Without clean, fresh and abundant water we will have no economic future. The rules governing the Flint River must be as stringent as possible with regard to insuring that the minimum flows account for drought seasons, that no entity can take from the river an amount that imperils the river. It is going to take an enormous education effort to make the pubic aware that they are responsible for maintaining this river by not wasting or polluting water in their everyday lives.

marsha j holbert roberson

As a former long time resident of Rome, Georgia (I was born there & lived there until 1981, when my family and I relocated to South Florida). It is my hope, along with countless others, that the State of Georgia officials will see the need for a holistic, basin-wide, science-based approach to restoring flows in the Flint. We’ve got to manage the waters of the Flint River basin sustainably, and keep all of the many people who depend on the Flint in mind, for today and future generations. thank you, in advance, for your prompt cooperation!
marsha j holbert roberson

Gale Rullmann

We must protect all of our water sources, above and below ground. There is no sustainable future with out it.

Don Brockway

Water should not be a pawn in partisan politics. It must be protected and used wisely for everybody’s future.

Georgia C.

Realities are very different from the Georgia I grew up in. Unbeknowns to me and my family and community, unbridled greed has destroyed so much that the “let it alone” philosophy of past decades is not in line with reality. Our Georgia rivers are hurting; the land is hurting; the people are hurting. Perhaps the last to be hurt are the greed beneficiaries. But it’s happening fast.