In 1993 the Authority adopted a Master Plan that has guided the development and preservation of the Canal as a natural, historic and economic resource. Today, the Authority’s mission is to execute the master plan. In 1998 the Authority was named official management entity for the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area.
The Authority does not own the Canal itself. The Canal is public property owned the City of Augusta. The water supply and flood control functions of the Canal are the responsibility of the Augusta Utilities Department.
The Canal Authority does not receive operating funds from the city’s general revenue property tax. The Authority derives most of its funding from hydropower revenue, tour boat tickets and other operations, along with a Federal appropriation administered through the National Park Service. Locally, the Authority has received Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funding for specific improvement projects. These funds are used to match Federal or State grants. Projects funded in part by SPLOST have included the Petersburg Tour Boats, pedestrian bridges and trail improvements.
The Canal Authority is led by an executive director and 12-member board. A full-time and part-time staff manages the Discovery Center, boat tours and the recreational and hydro-electric operations of the Augusta Canal on a day-to-day basis.