Jun 2, 2023
Georgia meeting scheduled for ag frost protection permits

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is considering frost protection groundwater withdrawal permits from the Floridan Aquifer in portions of the lower Flint River Basin (FRB) in southwest Georgia.

The considerations include sub-area 4 where a moratorium on new and/or expanded permits, including frost protection permits, is currently in effect. EPD anticipates it will begin accepting applications for frost protection permits in the suspension area in September, according to a Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association legislative alert.

EPD has been evaluating various options for agriculture water withdrawal permitting in the lower FRB, including frost protection permits. “Frost protection permits have limited water needs compared to traditional crop irrigation permits; while frost protection requires a large amount of water, frost conditions only occur a few days each year. Because the use would be limited to the traditional recharge season (October 15 to April 15) and limited in quantity, frost protection permits are anticipated to have a negligible effect on flows in the FRB, while responding to the needs of the agricultural community,” according to the alert.

To support the development of an implementable, protective, and feasible permitting program, EPD is also scheduling a public meeting to request input on frost protection permits. The meeting is scheduled for June 21 in Albany, Georgia.

In addition to attending the public meeting, stakeholders may choose to send written comments to EPD. Written comments may be sent to [email protected] or mailed to the Environmental Protection Division, Watershed Protection Branch, Suite 1470A East Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr., Atlanta, Georgia, 30334.

One of the world’s most productive aquifers, the Floridan aquifer system underlies a 100,000 square mile area beneath all of Florida and parts of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina, according to the USGS (the U.S. Geological Survey).

More information on frost protection permitting can be found at the EPD website.

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