A busy 2022 is in store for Lake Lanier Association, as it is planning programs and initiatives on its own and with other groups, such as the Army Corps of Engineers.
“With a full calendar of events, volunteer opportunities and expanded programs to protect Lanier, this is sure to be an amazing year,” the Gainesville-based group said in a recent newsletter.
Here’s a brief look at what’s ahead this year:
Water quality may be a top issue
A virtual discussion about water quality is planned in March.
“We’re going to be reviewing the past year’s information and data and see how water quality is trending,” said Jennifer Flowers, Lake Lanier Association’s executive director.
The hope is to bring state Environmental Protection Division officials into that discussion.
“The winter into early spring tends to be the dirt season” on Lanier, Flowers said. “That’s when we see the highest level of erosion and sedimentation going into Lanier.”
Those are not just appearance concerns.
“Sediment can bring a lot of phosphorus into the lake and cause other concerns, and it can affect fish habitat,” Flowers said.
In 2020, algae appeared in at least a couple of places on Lake Lanier’s shoreline after heavy rains.
Tests later revealed that toxins were present in some samples, but “the levels were not extreme,” Flowers said at the time.
Hazard markers could become more visible at night
The group is looking at putting reflective tape on hazard markers in the lake.
To help improve nighttime visibility on the lake, the group has placed solar lights on 289 markers.
“Where we may not need a solar light, maybe some reflective tape would suffice,” Flowers said of the effort. “There are also certain markers that, even with the light, continually get hit. We’re going to see if some reflective tape will help them to be seen.”
Lighting up Lanier has been an issue for the association over the years.
“In many places where water meets the land, there are hazards just under the surface,” the group says on its website. “Hazardous area markers can be difficult to see after dark.”
Boat captains to talk about rules of the lake
Another event, “Coffee with a Captain,” also held in 2021, “is a good time to come together with some knowledgeable boaters … who’ve been on Lanier for a very long time” to learn more about boating on the lake.
The event — planned for June this year — is ideal for less experienced boaters or those new to Lanier, Flowers said.
“There’s a lot of nuances out there,” she said.
More ‘Ask the Corps’ on the way
An “Ask the Corps” webinar is set for Feb. 17 and another one is planned in July.
Such sessions have been held previously and were loaded with information, with the corps covering a number of key topics, from federal funding to unauthorized shoreline brush clearing.
“It’s helped them to help communicate what’s going on,” Flowers said. “They’ve been able to answer questions en masse, because it does seem like a lot of people have the same questions.”
Another ‘trash trap’ may be installed
The group hopes to team up with environmental watchdog group Chattahoochee Riverkeeper on a “trash trap,” or a device that helps collect litter from the water.
“It’s going to be a smaller version than what is in Flat Creek” in Gainesville,” Flowers said. “We’re not announcing the location yet because we need (approval) finalized. If we can’t get it there, we’ll go to a different creek.”
A similar device was installed in 2015 on Flat Creek just south of the Flat Creek Water Reclamation Facility on Old Flowery Branch Road.
The idea behind that initiative between Gainesville and Hall County was to reduce pollution on the largely urban waterway that flows into Lake Lanier.