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Altamaha on Top 10 most endangered rivers list

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First, it was the Chattahoochee in 1999. Now, American Rivers, a well-known environmental group, has named the Altamaha River one of the most endangered rivers in the country.

The Altamaha, formed where the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers join together in Jeff Davis County in southeast Georgia, is home to more than 100 rare, threatened or endangered species, seven of which cannot be found any place else. It empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Growth and "metro Atlanta's seemingly insatiable demand for services such as drinking water and electricity threatens to overwhelm the Altamaha River," an American Rivers report says.

Specifically, a Department of Natural Resources recommendation (discussed briefly at the department's March 27 board meeting) to build five drinking water reservoirs in the Altamaha's headwaters constitutes the biggest threat.

What bothers Alice Miller Keyes, environmental policy analyst for the Georgia Conservancy, is that "no one is piecing those [proposals] together to see what effect a series of reservoirs will have on the overall [river] system."

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