The Lake Lanier Association and Army Corps of Engineers sponsored a virtual town hall meeting Wednesday, June 30. Here are a few takeaways from the event:
Crackdown on unauthorized clearing ‘about to start’
The Corps is about to crack down on unauthorized brush clearing on Corps property, said Tim Rainey, Army Corps of Engineers operations project manager for Lake Lanier,
“We are going to start addressing these (cases) more frequently and more (harshly),” he said. To me, it’s unacceptable to have the amount of unauthorized clearing we have going on, and we’ve got to start holding people accountable.”
Rainey added, “For those who are doing it, I’m sorry, we’re going to come after you.”
If residents see that a tree has fallen on Corps property, call the Buford Corps office at 770-945-9531, he said.
“Our preference is to just let it lay,” Rainey said.
Corps hopes to benefit from infrastructure bill
Rainey is closely watching the $973 billion infrastructure bill in Congress.
“It’s not specific to Lake Lanier, but we do feel good that the Corps of Engineers, as an agency, would get some of that money,” he said.
Rainey said he has totaled up about $22 million in projects for Lanier, from road paving and shoreline rock to park bathrooms.
“That’s what I’m going after,” he said. “I don't know what I’m going to get. It certainly won’t be that much, but I hope to get some of it.”
President Joe Biden is pushing the bill hard, saying that it not only will rebuild crumbling roads and bridges but provide millions of new jobs.
Master plan for Lake Lanier operations nearly done
A master plan for the operation of Lake Lanier is nearly completed.
“We can almost touch the finish line,” Rainey said.
A draft environment assessment report is scheduled to be released by late July or early August, he said.
The plan will serve as a “land and recreational management tool that guides the stewardship of natural and cultural resources,” as well as a guide for “outdoor recreation facilities and opportunities,” according to the Corps.
The plan will consider a range of things, from erosion control to the operation of seaplanes.
Supreme Court ruling hasn’t changed operations yet
Asked his thoughts on the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gave Georgia a decisive win against Florida over water sharing, Rainey said, “I can’t speak to water wars stuff. I’m not a lawyer. That’s a legal thing way over my head.”
However, “we will continue to operate the system” according to a water control manual approved in 2017.
“As of yet, I’ve not heard anything as a result of that ruling that is making any changes to that (manual).”
2021 Shore Sweep is set for Sept. 25
The 2021 Shore Sweep, Lake Lanier Association’s annual cleanup of the lake’s shoreline, is set for Sept. 25, said Jennifer Flowers, the group’s executive director.
Twelve trash disposal sites will be set up around the lake.
For those unable to participate on that day, people can pick up and dispose of litter at designated “advanced” sites on the lake.