A statewide environmental group considers a proposed reservoir in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area one of the 12 biggest threats to Georgia's waterways.
In its inaugural "Dirty Dozen," the Georgia Water Coalition listed the proposed 2,000-acre Shoal Creek reservoir with the Glades Reservoir in neighboring Hall County at fifth on the list.
The report was released Saturday as part of the coalition's 10th anniversary celebration at the Georgia Wildlife Federation's Conservation Alcovy Center in Covington.
Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Executive Director Sally Bethea and Joe Cook, the leader of a similar group for the Coosa River basin, nominated the proposed reservoirs for consideration.
The projects, they said, illustrate "what is wrong with Georgia's strategy to ‘drought-proof' metro Atlanta."
According to the report: "Backers of these reservoirs are using their influence to push the state to invest in unnecessary projects at great expense instead of directing limited financial resources to conservation and efficiency projects and better management of existing reservoirs that will secure the most water for the least amount of money in the least amount of time."
In addition, the report contends the Shoal Creek project would kill federally protected fish species found only in the Etowah River while depriving downstream communities by transferring massive amounts of water to metro Atlanta.
Brooke Anderson, general manager of Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, said the report did not surprise him.
The authority is one of two partnerships offering proposals to build the reservoir on Shoal Creek.
"Those are some folks that have expressed some concern about this project for quite a while," he said. "They are important issues, and they will be studied as part of the permitting process for the reservoir.
"As I've stated on many previous occasions, this reservoir will not be permitted without a rigorous study of the hydrology of the Etowah River, as well as a very thorough analysis of the threatened and endangered species within Shoal Creek and the Etowah River."
Coalition members said they plan to release the report annually to call attention to environmental transgressions related to Georgia's water.
"It is more than just a list," said Cook, of the Coosa River group. "It is a call to action."
DCN regional staff contributed to this report.