By Jane Harrison, Posted online at Lakeside News, 10/30/17
- Cloud reported that the $25,000 state allocation and matching funds from Hall and Forsyth County for removing abandoned vessels on Lanier has been exhausted moving four large, steel hulled houseboats. Seventeen docks, two dock/vessel combinations, and 12 vessels remain on the LLA abandoned or derelict dock project list. Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard said she was looking at creative ways to prosecute those who leave vessels and dilapidated docks, possibly with littering charges.
- DNR District Chief Enforcement Officer Johnny Johnson said fatalities, injuries, boating incidents and boating under the influence arrests thus far in 2017 are down from 2016 totals. As of Oct. 16, DNR reported four deaths by drowning, one boating fatality, 11 injuries, 24 boating incidents and 47 BUIs on Lanier compared to nine drownings, eight boating fatalities, 24 injuries, 35 boating incidents, and 62 BUIs in 2016. Johnson credited a statewide education initiative for helping reduce the number of drownings.
- Cloud distributed a chart showing a Lanier summer full pool analysis depicting the percentage of days June-Aug. the lake has measured at full pool since the 1970s. The analysis indicates that the lake attained its summer full pool of 1,071 feet nearly half the time in the 1970s. It was full slightly less in 30 percent of summer days in the 1980s and slightly more than 30 percent in the 1990s. However, the percentage dropped to about 20 percent in the 2000s and about 14 percent this decade. All the while, Georgia’s population, for which Lanier is a major water supplier, more than doubled from about five million to just more than 11 million. LLA officer Wilton Rooks suggested “multiple factors,” not just population growth, drain Lanier. “We’re not suggesting a slow down on growth,” he said, adding a dialogue with downstream users and a management study of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water releases might help determine what is causing lower summer lake levels.
- LLA officials expressed relief that the Georgia EPD kept a Level 1 drought response in 12 counties in the Lake Lanier watershed. The designation limits water use and suggests water municipal suppliers encourage conservation. “The drought may be over, but the impact of the drought lingers on Lanier. It takes the lake a long time to recover,” Cloud said.
- Local real estate agent Sheila Davis, from the Norton Agency, reported lake homes are in demand and inventory is “about half of what it should be. Prices are very strong.”