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Gardner, Melton picked for water council
Group will try to formulate statewide water policy
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Two Bryan County men have been enlisted by Governor Sonny Perdue, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson to help the state with water planning.

The three Georgia officials announced Wednesday their selections for members of Georgia’s regional water planning councils, which will have a key role in the statewide water planning process. Appointed to the Coastal Georgia Council are Richmond Hill City Manager Mike Melton and Bryan County Commissioner Rick Gardner. There are 10 councils throughout the state, each with 25 appointed members.

Melton and Gardener join 23 other appointees which include representatives from agriculture, forestry, industry, commerce, local governments, water utilities, regional development centers, tourism, recreation and environmental groups.

Together, they create an advisory group that will help the Georgia Environmental Protection Division make decisions about water issues in Coastal Georgia.

"The individuals we have selected are solution-oriented and will provide visionary water resource planning," Perdue said. "These appointments reflect a diverse group of Georgians and each one has a unique skill set and knowledge base, which will allow the councils to focus on water resource issues while also addressing the state’s economic needs."

The council will oversee preparation of regional water development and conservation plans for Coastal Georgia. These plans will focus on both water quantity and water quality issues, and will include forecasts of future water supply and wastewater treatment needs.

"I feel very honored to be selected to the water planning council," Melton said. "I hope to do a good job for coastal Georgia and represent the needs of this community and others along the coast."

Melton said he has gained a wealth of experience with water and other EPD issues through dealing with issues in Richmond Hill– such as water allotment, the addition of the lower floridan aquifer, EPD water restrictions and even the proposed LCDA plant.

"I’ve received a lot of practical experience through my dealings in Richmond Hill, and I aim to give Richmond Hill and other small coastal municipalities a voice regarding water concerns."

Gardener commended state officials for taking the initiative in involving people who are familiar with the uniqueness of the Georgia coast in the decision making process.

"After all, this could’ve been left to decision makers in metro Atlanta, which I believe has been the case in the past," Gardener said. "By enlisting locals, they have enabled the opportunity for us to have a positive impact on future water issues concerning Bryan County and all of coastal Georgia."

Lt. Governor Cagle acknowledged water as a key issue in Georgia and said he is "very pleased with the group of individuals selected to move forward with a responsible, long-term plan. This list includes well-rounded men and women who expand across industries and regions."

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