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Dead vegetation along highway is a mystery
0930browntrees
The Georgia Department of Transportation says someone has killed some vegetation along Atlanta Highway leading into Flowery Branch, but who did so and why remain a mystery. - photo by Tom Reed

0930BROWNaud

Flowery Branch resident Robin Carlisle talks about discovering a row of dead vegetation along Atlanta Highway near the city limits.

FLOWERY BRANCH — A row of dead trees and other vegetation along Atlanta Highway entering this South Hall city has puzzled area officials.

The stretch runs between Wayne Center, an office building outside the city, to the city’s wastewater treatment plant and across the road from a Dollar General store.

Flowery Branch resident Robin Carlisle said she noticed the eyesore during a shopping trip to Dollar General.

“When I walked down there to look at it, it appeared to stop right before you get to the creek that pours into Flowery Branch Bay under the railroad tracks,” she said.

Carlisle went home to get her camera and returned to the scene to snap a few pictures.

“It was apparent to me when I went to the side of the road that the grass on the side of the road was not dead — it was green, green, green,” she said. “What was behind this poisoned tree line was also very green.”

Carlisle returned to the scene for several weeks, taking more pictures.

“Now, that brown tree line is totally black,” she said.

Carlisle sent an e-mail, along with pictures, about her discovery to Charles A. Turner, a civil engineer with Hall County government.

“From Ms. Carlisle’s photos and our engineer’s investigation, the dead vegetation appears to be from a routine weed-control spraying along (Georgia Department of Transportation) right of way,” Turner said in a Sept. 15 e-mail.

He said he had talked with Brenda Mahoney of the DOT about the complaint.

Teri Pope, district spokeswoman for the DOT, said the department’s maintenance office hasn’t sprayed on Atlanta Highway in Flowery Branch this year.

“We have not been able to determine who did it,” Pope said. “It looks like somebody ... went and sprayed along our right of way. That happened without a permit and we didn’t notice that it had happened.

“Sometimes, stuff happens on rights of way that we don’t know about.”

Such a discovery isn’t common.

The vegetation backs against low-lying property owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“I’ve got one of my (employees) going out to look at it and come back with some photographs,” said Chris Lovelady, natural resource manager at Buford Dam.

“When (Lake Lanier) is full, it basically floods that area and kills all the vegetation that’s in the lake bed itself over a period of time,” he said. “It kind of keeps the vegetation at bay.”

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