(information last updated January 2019)

Ongoing Projects:

Federal Project(s) Operating in the State:


The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (“EPD”) manages the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program, which uses volunteers to collect water quality baseline data across the state. See About Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream,  (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).  The program is funded by a Section 319(h) Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. See id.


The Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership (“GAPP”), a U.S. Forest Service collaboration, provides a garden registry and mapping service that allows scientists to track garden establishment, assess habitat development trends, and identify where pollination corridors need to be further developed. What Will We Do/How Will We Do It?, Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019); see also Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership (GAPP), U.S. Forest Serv., (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).


The University of Georgia’s citizen science CyanoTracker platform, which is funded by the National Science Foundation’s (“NSF”) Cyber-Innovation for Sustainability Science and Engineering (“CyberSEES”) program, allows the public to easily provide actionable information on harmful algal blooms. The CyranoTracker ProjectAbout Us, CyranoTracker, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“A person commits an offense if, without the consent of the owner, the person . . . enters or remains on an animal facility [or crop facility] with the intent to disrupt or damage the enterprise conducted at the [] facility, and the person:

(A) Had notice that the entry was forbidden;

(B) Knew or should have known that the [] facility was or had closed to the public; or

(C) Received notice to depart but failed to do so.” Ga. Code § 4-11-32(c)(1) (animal facility) & (c.1)(1) (crop facility).


“‘Animal facility’ includes any vehicle, building, structure, pasture, paddock, pond, impoundment, or premises where an animal is kept, handled, housed, exhibited, bred, or offered for sale and any office, building, or structure where records or documents relating to an animal or to animal research, testing, production, or education are maintained.” Id. § 4-11-31(3). 


“‘Crop facility’ means any field, building, greenhouse, structure, or premises where crops are grown or offered for sale and any office, building, or structure where records, documents, or electronic data relating to crops or crop research, testing, production, or education are maintained.” Id. § 4-11-31(5.2).


Violations of subsection (c) or (c.1) of section 4-11-32 constitute a misdemeanor. Id. § 4-11-33(b).

Scientific Collecting Permit:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to take, possess, or transport any of the wildlife of this state, or the plumage, skin, or body thereof, or the nests or eggs of the same for scientific purposes without obtaining a scientific collecting permit[.]” Ga. Code § 27-2-12(a); see also Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 391-4-9-.01; Scientific Collecting Permit, Special Permits, Ga. Dep’t of Nat. Resources, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No. A person is guilty of trespass if that person enters the land or premises of another person “after receiving . . . notice from the owner” or rightful occupant that such entry is forbidden. Ga. Code § 16-7-21(b).  The statute does not define “notice,” but courts have reflected that notice must be “reasonable under the circumstances” and “sufficiently explicit to appraise the trespasser what property the trespasser is forbidden to enter.” State v. Harper, 810 S.E.2d 484, 485–86 (Ga. 2018) (quoting Rayburn v. State, 300 S.E.2d 499, 499–500 (Ga. 1983)). However, notice “need not be express to inform a would-be trespasser that entry is forbidden.” See id. (finding a locked door “sufficiently explicit” notice for the purpose of section 16-7-21(b)).

Other Provisions:

See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”

Drone Laws:


“(b) Any ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state regulating the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems shall be deemed preempted and shall be null, void, and of no force and effect; provided, however, that a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state may:


(1) Enforce any ordinance that was adopted on or before April 1, 2017;

(2) Adopt an ordinance that enforces Federal Aviation Administration restrictions; or

(3) Adopt an ordinance that provides for or prohibits the launch or intentional landing of an unmanned aircraft system from or on its public property except with respect to the operation of an unmanned aircraft system for commercial purposes.


(c) The state, through agency or departmental rules and regulations, may provide for or prohibit the launch or intentional landing of an unmanned aircraft system from or on its public property.” Ga. Code § 6-1-4. No such regulations exist to date.

State Parks:

“Drone operation is prohibited in Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites.” Drones, Park Rules & Regulations, Ga. Dep’t of Nat. Resources State Parks & Historic Sites, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“A person commits the offense of stalking when he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.” Ga. Code § 16-5-90(a).

Use of Information:

Although incomplete, our research has not found any provisions relating to the use of information collected by citizens in enforcement or administrative/legislative actions.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

“Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit.” Ga. Code § 9-11-11(b).

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility shall be satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.” Ga. Code § 24-9-901(a).

Expert Testimony:

The Daubert interpretation of Rule 702 [Ga. Code § 24-7-702] applies in civil suits only; in criminal cases, the court applies Harper v. State. See Vaughn v. State, 646 S.E.2d 212, 215 (Ga. 2007) (citing Carlson v. State, 634 S.E.2d 410, 414 (Ga. Ct. App. 2006)). Under Harper, the trial judge “determines whether a procedure or technique has reached a scientific stage of verifiable certainty” based on available evidence, and once “a procedure has been recognized in a substantial number of courts, a trial judge may judicially notice its level of verifiable certainty.” Carlson, 634 S.E.2d at 413.


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.