Greater Apalachee River Community (GARC)

Greater Apalachee River Community is dedicated to preserving and protecting the ecosystem of the Apalachee River for the use and enjoyment of present and future Georgians.



GARC started in May 2018 as a group of citizens concerned about Walton County’s plans to build an intake facility along the banks of the Apalachee in Morgan County in order to keep the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir full.

However, because there was no actual need for the water and because this project would significantly impact water levels and harm the Apalachee ecosystem, people from Oconee, Morgan, and Walton Counties banded together to oppose the intake. Citizens interested in the health of the river recognized the need to formally organize to deal with current and future threats to the beautiful and scenic Apalachee. GARC exists to maintain for tomorrow what is enjoyed today

A part of the Oconee Watershed, the Apalachee River is a 74 mile long river that originates in Gwinnett County. It journeys to Lake Oconee, forming the border between Gwinnett, Walton, Barrow, Oconee, Greene, and Morgan Counties along the way.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has designated the Apalachee a high priority waterway. It provides a habitat for the Altamaha Shiner, a fish protected under Georgia’s Endangered Wildlife Act, as well as a newly recognized type of fish, the Altamaha Bass. The river also contains species popular with sportsmen, such as the Striped Bass and the White Bass.

Quick Facts About the Apalachee

GARC is funded entirely by member donations.

Your annual membership will:

• Provide you with an annual newsletter and regular email updates

• Keep you informed of any changes or threats to the river ecosystem

• Let you know how you can be involved in river advocacy, protection, education, and preservation

• Engage you with the greater water community through UOWN (Upper Oconee Watershed Network)

• Provide the funding for water testing kits that will help monitor any changes in water quality

• Support events with other river advocates

Click the join tab at the top of the page for more information on how you can become a member.

Interested in joining?

• As of April 2018, the EPD had granted 4 non-farm surface water withdrawal permits allowing a total of 245 million gallons per day to be withdrawn from the Apalachee.

• 3 outdated impoundments exist on the river — an old grist mill at Snow’s Mill Road and an upper and lower dam at North High Shoals.

• Due to the presence of high levels of fecal coliform in the Apalachee River, the Georgia EPD ruled in 2016 that the river did not meet water quality standards for its designated uses of fishing and drinking water.

• Adjacent to the river near Hwy. 78, there is a triangle of landfills within a 1/2 mile area of one another.

Greater Apalachee River Community (GARC)