CUMMING — There was a relaxed feel on Saturday evening at the Port Royale Marina as members of the Lake Lanier Association held their annual meeting, but it was the result of a year of hard work.
Recently, 9th District U.S. Rep. Doug Collins has opposed an irrigation ban by the Army Corps of Engineers, and announced at the meeting that he had taken some measures that even the Corps might not be aware of.
“We helped them out last week, they may not know this yet,” Collins said. “We added a letter to the appropriations process in Washington, D.C., this month ... we’re putting in and asking that no moneys be allowed to enforce or implement the irrigation program on Lake Hartwell or Lake Lanier.”
The irrigation ban had been proposed earlier this year, and was one of several issues that tackled by members.
The association has been working recently to improve policies to clear abandoned docks and vessels, which the association and corps have lacked the resources to handle.
Joanna Cloud, executive director of the association, told attendees that she had gotten some good, though not quite official, news that morning.
“We have seven outstanding right now that are in the high risk category,” she said. “We got authorization this morning from (District 9 state) Rep. Kevin Tanner. ... He has been instrumental in getting $25,000 allocated in our 2017 state budget, it is earmarked for abandoned vessel removal on Lake Lanier.”
She said that while the funding hasn’t been signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, it appeared likely to be.
Cloud said that other trash removal efforts had been successful throughout 2015, including a litter tap in Flat Creek which is typically emptied once a week rather than once a month.
Efforts to protect islands from erosion, including the use of riprap, were also discussed. Rich York, an association board member, said that the group had worked with the University of North Georgia to highlight the extent of the problem.
“What they did, using satellite imagery, compared the land mass of those 21 islands as of 1980 and again in 2010,” Rich York said. “What we found was that on average the land mass had eroded by 11 percent, some as high as 43 percent.”
York said that in 2015 work to add more solar light to the lake had been slowed down by getting an inspection and monitoring system in place, but the group was still able to add 65 more lights, bringing the total to 186.
He said the association hopes to add 100-120 this year.
During the event, Diane and Tom Rothberg were recognized for the volunteer efforts.