The Area Around Cop City Is Flooding


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Replacing an Atlanta forest with a police training facility is having disastrous consequences — just like everyone said it would.

Protesters rally against the deforestation happening in Atlanta (Chad Davis/Wikimedia Commons)

The storm that swept across Georgia earlier this week was not your average winter rain: there were tornado warnings and wind gusts as high as 65 miles per hour. Between Monday and Tuesday, as much as 4 inches of rain fell on parts of greater Atlanta. 

That’s an awful lot of water, but what happened just southeast of the city was notable nonetheless: roads throughout the South River Forest flooded, at times heavily, causing at least one car crash after water on the road caused a driver to hydroplane.

It was a heavy storm, yes, but many in Atlanta see the flooding not only as a symptom of climate change, but also the ongoing construction of Cop City, the highly contentious police training facility that is currently being carved out of the country’s largest urban forest. 

The flooding comes as no real surprise: Everyone from local abolitionist organizers to national environmental organizations like the Sierra Club has said that developing the forest would lead to more flooding.

Atlanta has an extensive tree canopy — it’s one of the most forested cities in the country — but the South River Forest is unique because it’s one of the rare bits of riparian woodland in the greater metropolitan area. It both absorbs water that’s draining toward the South River, which it buffers, and can also take on floodwater from the river when it is running high. But those ecosystem services provided by the woods are significantly hampered when large areas are cleared, as is happening at the Cop City site.

Continue reading.

Read what Black families are doing to combat climate change in this Breaking News article.

Find even more Breaking News here.

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