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DNR ANNOUNCES RULES FOR CERTIFICATION OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE PROPERTY

                 DNR ANNOUNCES RULES FOR CERTIFICATION
                 OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE PROPERTY
    ATLANTA, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the proposed Rules for certification of environmentally sensitive tracts of land.  These proposed Rules have been created under the authority of House Bill 283 known as the "Timber Tax Law," which also provides property tax incentives for protecting environmentally-sensitive lands.
    DNR will hold a public hearing to receive comments on the proposed Rules on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1991 at 7:00 p.m. in the Research Auditorium of the Georgia Forestry Commission, Route 1, 5845 Riggins Mill Rd., in Macon, Ga.
    "This ability to protect Georgia's environment through certifying areas which are environmentally sensitive further enhances our effectiveness to preserve land, wildlife, precious water resources, and more," said DNR Commissioner Joe Tanner.
    The Timber Tax Bill establishes six different types of property which can qualify as environmentally-sensitive land.  These include: (1) Steep Mountain Slopes; (2) Wetlands; (3) Significant Groundwater Recharge Areas; (4) Undeveloped Barrier Islands; (5) Habitats with Endangered or Threatened Species; and (6) River Corridors.  The proposed DNR Rules for certification give definitions of these six land types and procedures for their certification.
    Environmentally-sensitive steep mountain slopes include those slopes, and associated ridge crests, in the mountainous portions of twenty-two counties in north Georgia.  In order to qualify, the land must have a slope of 25 percent or more and must lie 1,000 feet or more in elevation above the lowest elevation in the county.
    Wetlands will be considered environmentally sensitive if they are shown as wetlands on maps of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Wetland Inventory Maps) or DNR (Landoover Database Map).  Copies of the Wetland inventory and the Landoover Database maps may be obtained from the Georgia Geologic Survey, Maps and Publication Office, Room 400, 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., S.W., Atlanta, Ga. 30334, 404-656-3214.
    Significant groundwater recharge areas are shown on the Hydrologic Atlas 18 of the Georgia Geologic Survey.  Undeveloped barrier islands are identified in the "Report to Congress: Coastal Barrier Resources System," Volume 13, prepared by the U.S. Department of Interior.  Copies of Atlas 18 and Report to Congress may be obtained from Geologic Survey. Habitats with endangered species are not shown on maps and must be determined by a qualified specialist.
    Environmentally-sensitive river corridors are areas within the 100-year floodplain as shown on the Flood Insurance Maps published by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).  The Floodplain Management Office located at 7 M.L. King Jr. Dr. carries these maps.
    To qualify as environmentally-sensitive land for tax incentives, the property must be in a natural condition.  the exact location of the property must be mapped by a registered surveyor and the environmentally-sensitive nature of the property must be identified by a qualified expert.
    The proposed Rules will be presented to the Board of Natural Resources for adoption at its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 1991 at 9:30 a.m., Room 1252, Floyd Towers East, 205 Butler St., S.E., Atlanta, Ga.  The meeting in Macon is open to the public.
    -0-                                11/19/91
    /CONTACT:  Earl Shapiro, Assistant State Geologist, Georgia Survey Branch, Environmental Protection Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 404-656-3214/ CO:  Georgia Department of Natural Resources ST:  Georgia IN: SU: CM-DF -- AT012 -- 4896 11/19/91 11:08 EST
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Date:Nov 19, 1991
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