Georgia is a state renowned for its abundance of natural resources, with more than 24 million acres of commercial forest and 60% of the state densely covered by pine trees. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is responsible for protecting and restoring the state's water resources, issuing permits to local governments and industry, monitoring public water systems, and controlling diffuse sources of pollution. The Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) provides professional technical assistance to landowners to develop comprehensive wildlife management plans, while the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) and Georgia Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) work in partnership to provide wildlife-related technical assistance in the development of forest management plans. Groundwater monitoring data and geological maps and information for Georgia can be found in Georgia Geological Survey publications, and the state Department of Natural Resources holds an annual youth bird watching competition. The EPD works to protect and restore the state's water resources through regulatory and protection programs, monitoring, evaluation, and planning.
Permits are issued to local governments and industry to discharge treated wastewater and rainwater, as well as to local governments, industry, farmers, and subdivisions for the extraction of surface and groundwater. The EPD also ensures that Georgia's public water systems are working properly to provide citizens with drinking water, and controls diffuse sources of pollution through grants and volunteer programs such as Rivers Alive and Adopt-a-Stream. With 93% of the landscape privately owned, more than 80% of Georgians are interested in wildlife and support funding for wildlife education and habitat management programs. Through science-based conservation planning, landowners can more effectively achieve their wildlife and natural resource goals while ensuring these resources are in good condition for future generations in Georgia. Participation in these programs is voluntary, with objectives determined by the owner.
Professional technical assistance is provided free of charge, with financial incentives offered for conservation practices. Wildlife biologists from the WRD are available to work with landowners to develop comprehensive wildlife management plans. They can also match the needs of homeowners with one or more federal and state conservation programs. Assistance is available in all 159 counties in Georgia. WRD wildlife biologists also work in partnership with foresters from the GFC and staff from the NRCS to provide wildlife-related technical assistance in the development of forest management plans. Groundwater monitoring data and geological maps and information for Georgia can be found in Georgia Geological Survey publications.
The state Department of Natural Resources also holds an annual youth bird watching competition, with four budding bird artists selected as winners of the T-shirt art contest.