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The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program study

Description of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin Study Area

In 1991, the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River basin was selected for investigation in the NAWQA Program. The watershed boundary of the ACF River basin defines an ecosystem in which the quality of the water is a result of the complex interaction of natural and human influences on land and water resources.

The purposes of this report are to describe the environmental setting and the influence of this setting on aquatic ecosystems of the ACF River basin. The environmental setting includes physical, biological, and cultural characteristics of the ACF River basin. The physical setting includes physiographic, soil, climatic, and hydrologic factors. The biological setting summarizes historical and current (1992) information on habitats and aquatic biota within the basin. The cultural setting describes how the human population uses land and water resources within the basin.

Available literature and reports from Federal, State, and local agencies are used to describe the environmental setting of the ACF River basin. Whereas many of these reports deal with topics of limited scope and geographic extent, it is the objective of this report to provide a broad synthesis of topics relevant to understanding determinants of the health of the aquatic ecosystem and water-quality conditions in the ACF River basin.

Although the basinwide scope of NAWQA's ACF River basin study is unprecedented, water-quality assessments of regional scope have been conducted previously in parts of the basin. The USGS conducted two earlier regional water-quality studies, one in the Apalachicola River basin (Elder and others, 1988), and another in the upper Chattahoochee River basin (Cherry and others, 1980).

In 1971, the Georgia Water Quality Control Board (predecessor to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division) published a water-quality assessment of the Chattahoochee River from its headwaters to Lake Seminole, and an assessment of the Flint River from Fulton County to near Griffin, Ga., (Georgia Water Quality Control Board, 1971a,b). Another water-quality study of regional scope was conducted on West Point Lake by the USGS for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) (Radtke and others, 1984).

Text extracted from Couch and others 1995.

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