Two environmental groups are giving residents a chance to visit the site of a proposed reservoir in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.
On April 2, Coosa River Basin Initiative and Georgia Sierra Club will host a 1.5 mile hike to Shoal Creek, where participants can learn about the proposed Shoal Creek Reservoir and see native fish species that inhabit nearby waters.
According to CRBI Director Joe Cook, the fish are one of the many reasons to attend the hike. Shoal Creek is a habitat for many unique fish species, including Etowah and Cherokee darters.
“In terms of impacts on biodiversity, this is perhaps the single worst place you could build a reservoir in the Upper Etowah River Basin,” Cook said.
Etowah Water and Sewer Authority has proposed construction of a 2,000-acre reservoir to be located on property owned by the city of Atlanta.
It could provide as much as 100 million gallons of water per day that could be sold to Atlanta and other nearby cities and counties.
Atlanta currently owns the property, about 10,000 forested acres along the Etowah River, which a private developer and the authority want to purchase.
The need for water took on a new urgency after a ruling by U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson that said Atlanta illegally tapped Lake Lanier — which is fed by the Chattahoochee River — for drinking water.
He gave the region three years to ink a water-sharing deal with Alabama and Florida, which also depend on the river.
To get involved in the April 2 hike, call (706) 232-2724 or visit www.coosa.org/shoal-creek-saunter-hike-ii/view.
A similar hike was held in November 2010 by the environmental groups.