Southeastern Fishes Council
Dedicated to the Conservation of Southeastern Fishes

Okefenokee Swamp and Trail Ridge Mining
Resolution of the Southeastern Fishes Council Approved by the Membership April 1997
Whereas the Okefenokee swamp is an aquatic ecosystem of unparalleled beauty and intrinsic value as a natural treasure of national importance and is the largest intact wetland in the Southeast,

Whereas the Suwannee and St. Marys rivers of Georgia and Florida, originating in the Okefenokee Swamp, are among the least despoiled rivers of the Coastal Plain and include vast karst and blackwater habitats,

Whereas the aquatic and semiaquatic habitats forming this swamp-riverine ecosystem harbor a unique and diverse assemblage of plants, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and other vertebrates,

Whereas among this assemblage are significant endemic, anadramous, and imperiled species,

Whereas there are extensive public lands within this ecosystem, such as the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, the Osceola National Forest, the Pinhook Swamp, and state-owned tracts designated for habitat and wildlife protection,

Whereas natural resources of the region provide incalculable economic and recreational value,

Whereas the regional value and importance of this ecosystem is evidenced by strong proactive ecosystem-management strategies by the states of Georgia and Florida, and through coordinated efforts by a coalition of stakeholders known as the Suwannee River Basin Interagency Alliance,

Whereas a geological feature known as Trail Ridge forms the eastern boundary of Okefenokee Swamp and is critical for maintaining hydrological conditions of the entire watershed,

Whereas certain proposed land-use activities, including extensive mining of mineral resources on Trail Ridge, could significantly and detrimentally affect watershed hydrology and impact natural habitats and sensitive species,

Whereas the Southeastern Fishes Council is a nonprofit scientific organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of habitats and aquatic biodiversity of the southeastern United States.

Therefore Be It Resolved that the Southeastern Fishes Council opposes any land-use activities, including proposed mining of Trail Ridge, that could negatively impact hydrological conditions of the Okefenokee Swamp and its tributaries and any aquatic natural resources within this unique ecosystem,

Be It Futher Resolved that the Southeastern Fishes Council also opposes any proposed water diversion projects that would directly affect the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee River, or the St. Marys River.