The RCR will help to protect the environment, and a wide variety of green and eco-friendly measures were taken during the program development. The intake on the Etowah River will be controlled to withdraw water during periods of higher river flow such as wet periods and during periods of controlled power generation releases from Lake Allatoona. By doing so, the RCR will not negatively impact in-stream flow requirements during times of heavy usage or drought. The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has strict low flow protection requirements in place to protect downstream users and wildlife in the Etowah River; Paulding County will be monitoring conditions on a daily basis to adhere to these requirements. Further, the EPD has strict regulations in place to ensure proper water quality. Paulding County also performed extensive modeling to assess potential impacts to fish habitat (such as the federally threatened Cherokee darter) as part of applying for the RCR 404 Permit. Modeling results indicated that there will be minimal to no impact on fish species. However, despite these results, Paulding County Water Services is building the river intake to include specialty low impact raw water screens that have very small openings and very low entrance velocities (on the order of 0.5 ft/sec) so that fish and other wildlife are not impacted by the presence of the screens.
This design also prevents debris from entering into the screen or clogging on the screen surface. Also see the May 2015 News Release for information on the work by the Paulding County Water System to protect the northern long-eared bats known to inhabit the region. Erosion and sediment control design and installation of the appropriate measures by the contractors has also been a strong focus in close coordination with EPD, in order to help limit potential impacts of construction on Richland Creek and downstream users. The design of the dam facilities also includes measures to maintain minimum required flows and optimal temperature ranges in Richland Creek downstream of the dam throughout the year, along with the installation of the USGS monitoring station to provide real time monitoring of the Richland Creek conditions. In addition, construction activities were limited during the spawning period of the Cherokee darter, and Paulding County will be performing biological monitoring in Richland Creek during and after construction in order to monitor the health of Richland Creek.