The GreenRoom: April 2007

Environmental Update

• The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently purchased a 884 acres of land in Taylor County for some $1.37 million from AmSouth Timber Fund, LLC. The sandy uplands, which will be managed as a state Natural Area, are studded with small, wet-weather ponds that provide a home for creatures such as the endangered gopher tortoise, the rare striped newt, Bachman’s sparrow and the gopher frog.

The property may also become a recipient site for translocated gopher tortoises displaced by land conversion elsewhere. Recreational use and hunting will be permitted, according to the DNR. “Under AmSouth’s care, this sandhill habitat has remained in good condition,” says Dan Forster, WRD Director. “We are fortunate that AmSouth officials understood the biological significance of this tract and worked hard to strike a deal that will benefit the state.”

• At press time, Atlanta leaders were considering MARTA’s request to extend its one-cent sales tax from 2032 to 2047. The boost in revenue would enable the agency to contribute to the Peachtree Streetcar effort and proceed with projects such as the C-loop, a separate streetcar from Lindbergh to Emory.

MARTA has tightened its belt in recent years and improved service, recently extending its northern line. The agency may also get help from House Bill 434, a Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce initiative to establish a statewide regional funding structure for transit and transportation solutions. – Ben Young

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