American Rivers Statement on Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin Ruling

February 15, 2017

Contact: Ben Emanuel, 706-340-8868 or Amy Kober, 503-708-1145

February 15, 2017

Washington – A ruling this week on management of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, named America’s Most Endangered River in 2016, shows the effort to restore river health and ensure secure water supplies is far from over.

The Special Master appointed to oversee the trial in Florida v. Georgia, the State of Florida’s original action against Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court, heard arguments from both sides and yesterday issued his report to the Court.

The state of Florida alleged that Georgia’s ever-increasing water consumption from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river system is damaging the environment and the local economy in northwest Florida’s Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay.

The Special Master, attorney Ralph Lancaster of Portland, Maine, recommended that the Supreme Court deny Florida’s request for relief via a water consumption cap imposed on Georgia. Although he acknowledged that Apalachicola Bay has suffered due to declining river flows, Lancaster noted that capping Georgia’s water consumption may not increase river flows if there are not changes in management by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well. The Court will decide whether to adopt, modify or reject the Special Master’s recommendations.

Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers, made the following statement:

Though we’re disappointed that the Special Master did not recommend changes to water management, he did recognize the damage being done to the rivers and communities of the basin. The debate over water management in the ACF Basin is far from over. The states of Georgia, Florida and Alabama must come together to create a workable water-sharing agreement. And, it’s more important than ever that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers improve management of its facilities to support healthy rivers and communities throughout the basin.”


American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 250,000 members, supporters and volunteers.

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