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Corps isnt getting expected flood of dock permit applications
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Boat dock permits

Those interested in pursuing a permit for a boat dock must submit a request letter by mail to Lake Lanier Permits, P.O. Box 9, Gonzalez, FL 32560. Paperwork can be downloaded at www.lakelaniersupl.com, or by visiting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lanier Project Management Office at 1050 Buford Dam Road, Buford.

If you already have applied for the permit lottery, The Times would like to talk to you for an upcoming story. Please contact reporter Jeff Gill at jgill@gainesvilletimes.com.

Ernest Noe with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said he "expected a flood of people coming in the door" to apply for boat dock permits after a two-year hold on them had lifted.

"I thought they’d be fighting trying to get in line," he said, with a laugh.

But Noe, chief ranger at Lake Lanier’s shoreline management office in Buford, hasn’t noticed such a terrible rush some three weeks into the process.

About 15 requests a day are being filed, with lake residents vying for the lake’s remaining 174 dock permits.

"We expect that number to drop off (midway) then pick up toward the end of the open period," Noe said.

The corps had stopped accepting applications in April 2007, as the drought had gripped the Southeast and sent lake levels plunging.

A wet spring pushed levels back up, prompting corps officials to reconsider the ban.

The corps’ Mobile District decided in June to restart the process, but only after Lanier’s elevation had remained at or above 1,064 feet above sea level for 30 consecutive days and the five-week forecast showed "the level or rise is sustainable."

The lake was at 1,065.12 feet Saturday.

The corps decided on a lottery process in settling who gets the permits, as the Lanier shoreline plan and Environmental Impact Statement completed in 2004 limited the number of boat docks on the lake to 10,615.

The lake now has 10,441 docks.

The request period for boat dock permits on Lake Lanier began July 15 and will end Oct. 13.

"I’m sure we’re going to get more than 174 requests," said Chris Lovelady, the corps’ natural resources manager in Buford.

"I’m thinking folks are not dragging it out, but ... we didn’t give them a week — we gave them a long enough time to get (the request) in."

About one week after the submission period ends, a final list will be published online representing those requests confirmed for an Oct. 28 lottery drawing.

The drawing will be shown on the Web and shown by video feed to a site in the Lake Lanier area. A link to the Web broadcast will be available at www.lakelaniersupl.com and www.lanier.usace.army.mil.

Final decisions will be provided in writing.

An outside firm is collecting the request letters, entering them into a database and reviewing the list for errors and duplicates, corps officials said.

Only one request will be accepted for each piece of property.

"We believed it was the fairest way (to issue permits)," Noe said. "It’s a very orderly way to do things."

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