The Grey Zone: A Look at Stream Buffer Zone Protection Regulations for Georgia's Trout Streams.
Abstract: Land adjacent to water bodies, or riparian zones, are critical to
the health of aquatic ecosystems in that they filter pollutants, moderate temperature, and
reduce sedimentation. Brook trout, which are native to many north Georgia streams, are
losing habitat due to rising stream temperatures and sedimentation attributed to human
development of riparian zones. Georgia's primary tool ... read moreto protect riparian zones is the
Erosion and Sedimentation Act, which originally required 100 feet of unaltered buffer areas
along all water bodies. Changes to the Act in 2000 reduced trout stream buffer widths to 50
feet with a promise to revisit the topic once the University of Georgia published an
evaluation of reduction effects. After publication, political pressures left the issue
unaddressed. This thesis analyzes the politics of the buffer reduction and the influence
the university study had in post-reduction amendments, and concludes with recommendations
to improve the current buffer protection program.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Roberty Russell.
Committee: Jon Witten.
Keywords: Environmental law, and Environmental management.read less