The Sustainability Office works as a steward of public resources by promoting innovative practices and policies to reduce the Unified Government’s environmental footprint, grow the local economy, and foster a thriving community by networking staff, ideas, and resources across departments and throughout the community to achieve outcomes supported by a long-term sustainability plan.
The Sustainability Office aims to achieve strategic innovation through the collection and analysis of information, piloting of new practices, and development of long-term collaborative efforts. This will also involve land management of Unified Government green space, ecological planning and project management, and education as it pertains to Unified Government green space and ecology.
Recent Projects in ACC
- 100% Clean and Renewable Campaign Launch
- GOSP Grant Award
- Pilgrim Pride: Community Enhancement
- Legacy Forest Project
- Cedar Creek Water Reclamation Facility
The Office of Sustainability is pleased to announce the launch of the 100% Clean and Renewable Planning and Community Engagement phase. As a continuation of the 100% Resolution that was signed late 2019, the goal of this phase is to set up a Community Advisory Board (CAB), obtain important community input, and build the pathway and map for Clean and Renewable Energy for ACC.
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For more information, check out the 100% Renewable and Clean Energy Campaign tab on the left
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced on February 25th that one of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP) “Conserve Georgia” grants has awarded $550,000 to Athens-Clarke County Unified Government for 2020. Ranked by DNR as the number 1 project, the $829,000 project will be used to help further the vision of the “Restore our River” project, which was started in 2019 as an effort to restore approximately 1 mile of a highly urbanized river corridor into a species-rich, ecologically diverse habitat. While plans for SPLOST funded trailhead restrooms and teaching pavilion were already underway, GOSP provided additional funds to build a canoe launch at the College Avenue Bridge, a fishing pier/canoe launch in Dudley park, natural surface trails. The project also includes the restoration of 20 acres of Dudley Park, creating high-quality wildlife habitat, installing nesting and roosting boxes, restoring 150 feet of stream bank, and creating an in-stream pilot trash trap project. The grant award is significantly enhancing Athens-Clarke County’s effort to restore and create a unified habitat and ecosystem services management plan that involves multiple parks as well as multiple departments and stakeholders. The Restore our River Project is a Sustainability Office initiative that, in collaboration with the SPLOST Project Office and the Leisure Services Department, seeks to involve multiple ACC departments, citizens, and community organizations in the creation of a healthy and sustainable community for our natural and human environments.
During July 1-3, 2019 over 150 employees from Pilgrim’s Pride worked with Athens-Clarke Leisure Services Department and Sustainability Office staff on the Reclaim Our River Project. The effort focused on removing destructive invasive plants and trash next to the North Oconee River, enhancing habitat diversity, opening up vistas to the river, and reclaiming this incredible community resource. Crews removed 30 tons of invasive plants, 36 bags of trash, and 30 tires from the area as part of the effort. The option to volunteer was made available to Pilgrim’s Pride employees to ensure job security by the company while the local plant was shut down temporarily for equipment retooling.
Watch the video below to learn more about this experience.
The Legacy Forest Project works to ensure the longevity of one of our communities’ oldest resources. The Legacy Forest Project uses aerial photos from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that date from 1938 to 2017 and show the changes in historic forest coverage. These photos track which of the original 1938 forests are depleted and which have survived over time. By knowing which historic forests remain, land planners and developers are able to improve building practices on these sites, therefore preserving forests for future generations.
View the finished interactive map.
The solar array at Cedar Creek Water Reclamation Facility is one of the biggest solar installations and is the first of its kind in Athens-Clarke County. The array produces renewable energy that can then be sold to power companies for credit on County utility bills. The savings generated by this credit offsets ACCGOV’s energy costs while also quickening the return on investment for the installation.
In addition to renewable energy production and utility savings, the solar array provides a valuable educational experience for our community to learn about the solar energy process and how it can be beneficial to us.
The Sustainability Office takes pride in our support to help Athens-Clarke County steward its resources well. Explore our renewable energy project page, where you can find more information about our recent and upcoming facility projects.