Stack & Associates, P.C.
Contact Our Office Environmental and Land Use Law

Court of Appeals decision affirms protection for salt water marshes

Buffering is an important aspect of maintaining clean waterways. A buffer, as some readers may know, consists of a band of permanent vegetation around a stream or wetland which has the purpose of preventing erosion and filtering contamination from rainwater runoff, as well as purification of bacteria and pathogens. Protecting salt marshes from pollution is an important environmental goal, since they provide a rich habitat for wildlife and even support the state economy.

Under a state law passed in 1975, the Erosion and Sedimentation Act, various measures were implemented to support and protect salt marshes, including the establishment of 25-foot buffer zones around certain waters throughout the state. Up until recently, salt marshes were included among these protected waters. Earlier this year, though, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued a directive which effectively removed the requirement of a protective buffer for salt water marshes.

The decision was not a popular one among environmentalists, who complained that the directive put thousands of acres of marshes across the state at risk for pollution and that this was contrary to the intent of the Erosion and Sedimentation Act. Fortunately, the directive was repudiated by a recent Georgia Court of Appeals ruling, which said the buffer requirement applies to all state waters, including marshes.

The decision, as some have already pointed out, is a good one for the state because of the benefits salt water marshes provide. Indirectly, it also sends a message about the importance of being good stewards of the environment. That, after all, was part of the vision of the Erosion and Sedimentation Act. 

Source: Savannah Morning News, "Court decision revives Georgia coastal marsh buffer," Mary Landers, July 18, 2014. Saporta Report, "Court of Appeals' ruling protects Georgia's marshes; let's hope state leaders will do the same next year," John Sibley, July 27, 2014. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Our Firm

In the legal profession as in other fields, past accomplishments are often the best indicators of future success. Our representative cases bear witness to our law firm's ability to represent clients against even the most formidable adversaries, including government bodies and giant corporations, in both individual and class action claims.

Email Us For A Response

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Our Office Locations

260 Peachtree Street N.W.
Suite 1200
Atlanta, GA 30303

Phone: 404-692-7504
Fax: 404.522.0275
Map & Directions

23 Delegal Rd
Savannah, GA 31411

Phone: 404-692-7504
Phone: 912.232.0567
Fax: 404.522.0275