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Falling lake level closes boat ramps
Boaters beach their pontoon boat on an island near Van Pugh Park on Thursday afternoon. Lake Lanier dropped just below 1,063 feet above sea level, which is the level at which dock permits are cut off on Thursday.

Check boat ramp elevations on Lanier


It’s that time of year: When Lake Lanier drops another inch, another boat ramp closes.

Thursday, Lake Lanier’s water level dropped just below 1,063.02 feet above sea level, more than 3 feet lower than it was this time last year.

With the change, boat ramps at Burton Mill, Duckett Mill and Bethel Park all closed, according to Pat Robbins, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mobile, which manages the lake.

The corps operates 104 boat ramp lanes on Lanier.

The corps determines lanes are “not usable” when the end of the ramp is in less than 3 feet of water.

As the lake has steadily dropped further below its full-pool level of 1,071 feet above sea level, it’s set off dominoes of closing boat ramps.

And that trend likely won’t end soon.

Conditions in a large portion of Hall County are described as “severe drought” in this week’s report by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Corps predictions for the lake are for it to drop another 2 feet in elevation by Sept. 1.

But there may be good news on the far horizon: The U.S. Drought Monitor predicts that drought conditions may improve and its impact ease over the next three months for much of Georgia.

That’s not the case in the Midwest and through much of the nation, with some 22 percent of the continental U.S. now classified in an “exceptional drought.”

Much of Northeast Georgia is now listed in moderate to severe drought conditions.

Regional events