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Corps reviews flow requests

EPD: Lakes are full downstream

POSTED: March 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday that it was reviewing a request from Georgia to reduce the flow of water from Buford Dam on Lake Lanier.

"The corps is currently coordinating this proposal with the ACF Basin stakeholders," the agency said in a news release from its district office in Mobile, Ala.

The ACF is the Appalachicola- Chattahoochee-Flint basin. Lake Lanier is the largest reservoir in the basin.

Carol Couch, director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, asked the corps to reduce the discharge from 750 to 550 cubic feet per second through the end of April. Her Feb. 11 letter cites the near full condition of West Point Lake and Lake Walter F. George as a part of the rationale for making the change. The two lakes are on the lower Chattahoochee, south of Atlanta.

"Our water quality modeling indicates that the dissolved oxygen water quality criteria can be met with the reduced flows," Couch wrote in her letter to Col. Byron G. Jorns, district commander of Mobile district.

In the supporting data sent with the letter, the state contends the reduction in flow could preserve 30,000 to 50,000 acre-feet of storage in Lanier. The 200 cubic feet per second reduction translates into approximately 130 million gallons of water per day.

The corps has asked agency and stakeholders to comment on the proposal by Thursday.

The lower Chattahoochee and Flint rivers have had the benefit of considerable rainfall. The level at Lake Walter F. George on Thursday was 190.24 feet, nearly a quarter of an inch above it’s full summer pool.

West Point Lake, near LaGrange, had a level of 631.13 feet, which is above the lake’s average of 629.6 feet and less than 4 feet from its summer pool of 635 feet.

The increased water level has resulted in higher discharges into the Apalachicola River at the Jim Woodruff Dam. Flows on Thursday averaged 20,201 cubic feet per second. The corps reduced the minimum flow at Woodruff to 4,750 cubic feet per second in November. Woodruff Dam is on Lake Seminole, which is the point where the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers converge.


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