The environmental group Earthjustice has filed a legal appeal in a case to protect the Apalachicola River and Bay.
The appeal stems from a decision by a US District judge in August dismissing claims that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Water Control Manual allows Georgia to hold back too much water in reservoirs along the upper Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin.
The Water Control Manual details the operations of five reservoirs, including Lake Lanier, through 2050 and gives Georgia virtually all the water it needs for the next 30 years from the ACF basin, which provides drinking water to more than 4 million people in metro Atlanta and irrigates many southwest Georgia farms.
The appeal was filed last week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on behalf of the National Wildlife Federation, the Florida Wildlife Federation, and the Apalachicola Bay and Riverkeeper.
The lawsuit argues that, in developing its Water Control Manual for the river system, the Corps violated several federal environmental laws including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Water Resources Development Act, and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act.
The legal complaint points out that the Corps’ Water Control Manual dramatically increases upstream withdrawals and severely restricts downstream releases devastating livelihoods along the Apalachicola River and Bay, including for making tupelo honey and harvesting oyster, shrimp, and fish.