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McKinney Announces Passage of Arabia Mountain Corps of Engineers Water Resources Study

April 25, 2002

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is pleased to announce today the passage a resolution permitting the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a study of the aquatic resources surrounding Arabia Mountain in southeast DeKalb County, GA. The resolution, which passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with the help of Senator Max Cleland, is the final step in permitting the Corps of Engineers to conduct a general study of the watershed that encompasses Arabia Mountain - only a short drive from downtown Atlanta. Arabia Mountain is a renowned area, preserved as a Nature Preserve, which contains a diverse ecosystem of wetlands, hardwood forests, rare granite outcrops, and a collection of federally endangered and threatened plant species.

"I am very excited that the Corps of Engineers will now have the opportunity to conduct this important work. Arabia Mountain represents the character of DeKalb County prior to being overwhelmed by development and sprawl, and this study and the watershed protection that this permits the Corps to pursue will help insure the quality and viability of this watershed well into the future," Representative McKinney stated.

The effort to establish this Corps of Engineers study was begun in 2000 when Congresswoman McKinney was able to obtain an appropriation of $100,000 from the Energy and Water Appropriations Act for the purpose of this reconnaissance study. Subsequent federal budgets included further money for the project. Additionally, Congresswoman McKinney and Senator Cleland have introduced separate legislation to designate the region as the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. This legislation is cosponsored by Reps. John Lewis and John Linder in the House, and by Senator Miller in the Senate.

With the study authorized, the Corps will conduct a general study and make recommendations in the interest of ecosystem restoration and water and land resources of Stephenson Creek, in the headwaters of the Ocmulgee River in DeKalb, Rockdale and Gwinnett Counties, GA. Recommendations and further work in the watershed may include assessing two earthen dams in the watershed, addressing pollution at nearby firing ranges, and surveying the impacts and potentially removing ordnance from a former Defense Department underwater demolition training site.

"Water has always been essential to the survival of communities, however people have not always been aware of their long-term impacts on water resources. This Corps study will address the impacts of previous neglect of Arabia Mountain's water resources, and will help insure the continued protection of the watershed," McKinney concluded.


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