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Joanna Cloud steps down as Lake Lanier Association director, takes new lake job
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Joanna Cloud - photo by BY ERIN O. SMITH

Joanna Cloud, who was the Gainesville-based Lake Lanier Association’s executive director for nearly nine years, is leaving in mid-May to take a job with an area marine services company.

She said she is “excited to continue to be part of the Lake Lanier community both from a work and personal residence standpoint.”

The association “is well poised for continued success because the passionate group of volunteer board members and association members are committed to keeping Lake Lanier clean, full and safe,” Cloud said in a statement.

“I greatly appreciate the support from the members of the association over the past several years. It has been an amazing journey for me and I look forward to seeing the association continue to grow and serve the community.”

Cloud, whose last day is May 10, started with Lake Lanier Association in August 2010.

The group’s annual income has tripled during her tenure, and lake-based programs, membership and services have increased, according to the organization.

Also, under her watch, the group started a program placing solar lights on hazard markers on Lanier for boating safety and putting heavy rocks on the edges of lake islands to help control erosion.

One of Cloud’s particular passions was removing abandoned and rundown docks and vessels, including houseboats. She worked with state lawmakers to get financial help in the effort.

Some 60 reports of abandoned and rundown docks and boats on Lake Lanier were resolved between 2015 and 2018, association officials have said.

During that time, Cloud kept a record of all vessels and docks she found — many of which were either sunken or sinking fast — and the progress made on each one’s removal.

“These vessels and docks are a blight on our community,” Cloud said in a September 2015 tour of neglected sites. “They affect water quality — the boats, especially — as they deteriorate. They’ve got batteries, oil and gasoline in them. And this is our reservoir, our drinking water for 4 million-plus people.”

The association said it’s seeking resumes from qualified candidates. John Barker, president of the board of directors, is heading the search.

Cloud told The Times she believes her successor will have issues to watch moving forward, particularly runoff as areas around the lake continue to develop.

“As the entire Atlanta population sort of sprawls out, it’s going to be more and more attractive to live here,” she said.