GreenRoom: August 2007

• Athens’ W.H. “Dink” NeSmith, president of Community Newspapers Inc., has donated a 1,010-acre conservation easement located along the banks of the Altamaha River in Wayne County to The Nature Conservancy of Georgia. A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement limiting uses and development of property in perpetuity; the property owner is rewarded with lower taxes and other incentives.

North Georgia Landowner Joe Vargo recently transferred 68 acres of land in Floyd County to The Nature Conservancy for an addition to Black’s Bluff Preserve. Now at 263 acres, Black’s Bluff features a steep outcrop of 500-million-year-old limestone and an enormous array of wildlife, including cave salamanders.

• Paulding Forest has been listed as the top funding priority in the Pres-ident’s Forest Legacy program; that could result in $3.5 million in federal funds to help purchase the 7,000-acre tract, one of the last forests of its size in the state. Last year, Paulding County voters authorized $15 million toward the total purchase price of some $45 million.

• Georgia’s first comprehensive water strategy, released late in June, includes a moratorium on controversial “interbasin transfers” which make water allocation permits from less developed areas available for a price. The plan now moves to the Georgia Water Council for review. A formal public hearing process will take place statewide prior to the 2008 legislative session. View the draft at – Ben Young

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