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TMDLs Focus of Water Summit Dec. 10
Explaining and understanding TMDLs will be the focus of the Upper Suwannee River Water Summit Dec. 10 in Tifton, Ga.

TMDLs, or total maximum daily loads, are calculations of the most of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still be safe and healthy, meeting Georgia water quality standards.

This is the second annual summit to address critical water quality and quantity issues in the region. Experts will talk about current and future water policies in Georgia.

TMDL policies' effectiveness in improving water quality has been the topic of debate over recent years. TMDLs are just one of many processes or practices that can improve water quality in Georgia.

Improving Water Quality

People who attend the summit will hear from state regulators, researchers and volunteer organizations about the principles behind TMDLs and their effectiveness on improving water quality in South Georgia rivers.

Local, state and federal legislators have been invited to learn about the region's water issues and how they can help plan the future of the watershed.

Dan Thomas, who chairs the Upper Suwannee River Watershed Initiative, said addressing the issue of TMDLs is way overdue. "Implementation plans to meet TMDL goals could significantly impact land-management practices and alternatives within the Upper Suwannee basin," he said.

Vital to Gulf of Mexico

The USR watershed is the area drained by the Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Little and Suwannee rivers. The first three come together to form the Suwannee, which winds through Florida to the Gulf of Mexico.

The watershed is vital to the Southeastern ecology. Because it has no impoundments large enough to alter the natural river flows, it is the largest free-flowing water source flowing into the Gulf.

Registration for the summit begins at 8 a.m. at the Tifton Rural Development Center. The presentations start at 9. The program will end at 4 p.m.

The $15 fee ($25 after Dec. 1) covers lunch and refreshment breaks. To sign up or get more information, call (229) 386-3914.

Exhibitors interested in the USRW will provide displays and have information on their activities related to water quality.

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