LLA News Archive

Lake Lanier Association always has something going on.
Read below to catch up on our recent activities and events.

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ALERT – Quickly Rising Water Levels – February 22, 2019

This morning, the Chattachoochee and Chestatee Rivers are flowing at a combined 8,440 cubic feet per second, and the discharge at Buford Dam is 583 cfs, for a net inflow into Lake Lanier of 7,857 cfs, not counting rain falling onto the surface of the lake, inflow from minor tributaries, and direct inflow from the shoreline.
The lake has risen more than 3 feet since last Friday, and more than 1.5 feet since yesterday morning.
With perhaps another 0.75″ of rain forecast for today and Saturday, and with the ground already fully saturated, the lake will continue to rise significantly, and could easily rise another 6-12″ over the weekend.
Check your dock poles and shore anchor lines to make sure your dock doesn’t break free from its moorings.

ALERT – Two More Abandoned Docks – Please Look At The Photos

We have two more docks that have been abandoned along the shoreline of Lake Lanier and we are trying to identify the owners of these docks in order to determine the removal and disposition plan for these eyesores and safety hazards from Lake Lanier.One is close to Duckett Mill Park and the other is just above the Wahoo Creek/Mt. Vernon Road bridge. Both docks have been at their current locations for multiple weeks. Please look at the photos and brief descriptions below. If you know anything about either of these docks, please contact the Lake Lanier Association to help us in our investigation. Your identity will be treated as confidential.
The first dock is a single slip Quonset hut style dock. It is partially dismantled and is currently located very close to the boat ramp at Duckett Mill park.
The second dock is a single slip with upper deck dock. It is currently located on the northeastern shoreline area above the Wahoo Creek bridge. We think this dock got to its current spot from a location farther north on Wahoo Creek.

Water Wars Update – February 2019

WATER WARS: FLORIDA v. GEORGIA
By: Clyde Morris, Legal Counsel to Lake Lanier Association
Both States filed their supplemental briefs January 31 with Special Master Paul J. Kelly, Jr., and the arguments are entirely predictable. Florida says Georgia’s overuse of water is destroying Apalachicola oyster fisheries. Georgia says its use of water is reasonable and the damage to Georgia so enormously outweighs any benefit to Florida that Florida’s proposed consumption cap would not be equitable.
In order to provide members as quickly as possible with information about the filings, we are providing short, succinct excerpts from each state’s brief that summarize the positions. We think they accurately encapsulate each state’s argument without delving into the details.
EXCERPTS FROM FLORIDA’S OPENING POST-REMAND SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF
As Georgia has drastically increased its consumption of upstream waters, especially along the Flint River for agricultural purposes, the amount of water flowing into the Apalachicola has shrunk dramatically. This has had the predictable effect: the Apalachicola has suffered and its oyster fisheries, in particular, have collapsed. The question now is whether Georgia’s wasteful practices should be allowed to continue-and worsen-while the Apalachicola, its natural resources, and the communities that depend on them are decimated.
After a five week trial, Special Master Lancaster had no difficulty concluding that Georgia’s “upstream water use” has been and continues to be “unreasonable,” and that the Apalachicola Region has sustained “real harm” as a result of the decreased flow of water into Florida. Underscoring the inequitable nature of Georgia’s conduct, he also found that “Georgia’s position – practically, politically, and legally-can be summarized as follows: Georgia’s agricultural water use should be subject to no limitations, regardless of the long-term consequences for the Basin.”
Nevertheless, on the novel question of whether the Army Corps of Engineers’
(Corps’) absence from this case prevents the Court from righting this wrong, Special Master Lancaster ultimately concluded that the Court was powerless to enter a decree because there was “no guarantee” that the Corps would not offset its effects. … On that single issue, the Supreme Court concluded, he was mistaken. The Court clarified that “‘[u]ncertainties about the future’ do not ‘provide a basis for declining to fashion a decree.'” Instead, given the importance of “protect[ing] the equitable rights of a State,” the equitable apportionment inquiry must rely on “[a]pproximation and reasonable estimates” to determine what relief is appropriate. Thus, Florida is entitled to relief if, under “reasonable predictions of future conditions, … the benefits of a decree would substantially outweigh its costs.
The evidence overwhelmingly establishes that this balance favors Florida. On the benefits side, a decree capping Georgia’s consumption would significantly increase the flow of water into the Apalachicola and restore the conditions in which the region survived and thrived for centuries. And on the costs side, much of this reduction in consumption could be accomplished simply by halting wasteful irrigation practices and sensibly limiting future irrigation in ways Georgia officials have themselves proposed and other States (including Florida) have long implemented.
EXCERPTS FROM GEORGIA’S SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF
In remanding this case, a divided Supreme Court was unanimous in one key respect: Florida cannot prevail unless it “prove[s] by clear and convincing evidence that the benefits of an equitable apportionment decree substantially outweigh any harm that might result.” Florida has not met that heavy burden. The potential benefits to Florida from its proposed cap are small and speculative, while the harms to established economies in Georgia are certain and severe.
The record is clear that Florida’s proposed cap would impose enormous costs on Georgia while yielding at most de minimis benefits to Florida. Florida’s own expert estimated that a cap would cost Georgia more than $100 million each year it was implemented…. In truth, the per-implementation costs would range from $335 million to well over a billion dollars, not including the one-time costs that Florida seeks to inflict on Georgia. Those costs dwarf the entire value of, and outweigh any potential benefits to, the Apalachicola Bay oyster industry-the only industry for which Florida offered evidence of specific harm. Even before its 2012 collapse, the oyster industry produced annual revenues of only $5-8 million. And even a draconian cap on Georgia would increase oyster biomass in the Bay by only 1.4% and generate (at most) another $40,000 per year.
Georgia accounts for 92% of the population, 99% of the economic production, and 96% of the employment in the ACF Basin. And Georgia uses ACF waters to support a population of more than 5 million and an economy that generates around $283 billion in Georgia’s Gross Regional Product (“GRP”) each year. Yet Georgia … uses only 2.4% of the water crossing the state line during non-drought years … and 6.1% during dry years. At all times, the vast majority of available water in the ACF Basin flows into Florida.
And even if Flint River flows did increase to some small extent, that extra water would not flow across the state line at the times and in the amounts necessary to redress Florida’s alleged injuries. *** Even if severe cutbacks were imposed on Georgia, the Corps has confirmed that it would not materially increase its releases from Woodruff Dam into Florida during drought operations or extreme low flows, but would instead use that water to refill its upstream reservoirs. *** (G)iven the Corps’ operations and the relatively small amount of water that might be generated by a cap on Georgia, flows across the state line would be roughly the same with or without a cap during the drought conditions that are the exclusive focus of Florida’s case.
Florida has not proven, by clear and convincing evidence or otherwise, that the potential benefits of its requested cap substantially outweigh the resulting harms. The evidence shows just the opposite: “If we contrast the de minimisbenefits that Florida might receive from small amounts of additional water during nondroughts with the massive harms that Georgia would suffer if this Court cut its water use in half during droughts, it is clear who should prevail in this case.”

ALERT – Dumped Dock In Four Mile – Please Look At The Photos

ALERT, we have a platform dock that was dumped in a cove in Four Mile last night. Below are a couple photos of the dock. It is a swim platform style dock with lots of wood debris piled on top and a swim ladder installed on the side. If anyone is familiar with a dock similar to this installed at a private property location that is no longer at that installed location, please contact us at lakeinfo@lakelanier.org with any information you have related to this dock. We will not release your name in this matter.

Back of Four Mile Dock2

Back of Four Mile Dock

ALERT – quickly rising lake levels

Courtesy alert to Lake Lanier Association members: with the high rainfall around Lake Lanier and especially in the watershed above the lake, dock owners should make sure their docks, including anchor poles, can handle the expected surge in the lake level. Current inflows into the lake are running at a rate of about 12 times higher than the outflows from Buford Dam. The lake has already risen over a foot today. With inflows of over 20,000 cubic feet per second we can expect even higher levels.

Lake Lanier Association Supports Concept of Forsyth Water Treatment Facility

In response to the announcement that Forsyth County is planning to site a new water treatment facility in North Forsyth County, the Lake Lanier Association has been responding individually to citizens that express concerns about the facility. In an effort to create more education and awareness about the association’s stance on the proposed treatment facility, LLA has released this statement to local media:

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“We have been aware, for several years now, of the proposed plant in North Forsyth and are watching it to see what develops in the Environmental Protection Division permitting process. From a Lake Lanier Association perspective, we will weigh in on the water quality in the lake aspect of this issue, not the property value, placement, or property rights off the lake aspect” said Joanna Cloud, Executive Director for the association.

Lake Lanier Association is very supportive of municipalities around the lake increasing their water returns to the lake. Cloud says “Many people consider the treated water coming back into the lake as treated to such a high standard that it is actually cleaner than the water being pulled out at the intake facilities for drinking water. We have water returns above Buford Dam of only about 50% for water pulled out of Lake Lanier. We can do better. Metro Atlanta has returns approaching 80% for water pulled out of the Chattahoochee. If we want to keep Lake Lanier at higher lake levels, especially during peak summer season, recycling water and increasing our returns is part of that solution.”

The association says it will be monitoring the TMDL permit levels for the treated water as well as the discharge pipe length and depth when the plant is in the state permitting process. Cloud says, especially in areas of North Forsyth with significant agriculture and livestock, along with a higher concentration of aging septic systems, that the concern for bacteria in a Lake Lanier tributary after a significant rainfall event would likely decrease with the addition of a treated water discharge facility due to the treated water diluting the bacteria coming in due to run off. The physical location of the discharge pipe will also be of significant interest to the association in that there are already discharge permits issued in several other locations around the lake and the association is concerned about overburdening the ecosystem of any particular tributary. “Even if we can get comfortable with TMDL standards of multiple discharge permits in a single area, doubling the concerns about things like incoming water temperature or air content in the discharge make having multiple permits in single tributary challenging” says Cloud. There is already one industrial water discharge permit in the Six Mile tributary of Lake Lanier in the North Forsyth area.

The association also says it is in favor of sewer facilities over septic facilities because with sewer, especially municipality systems as opposed to private systems, there are more controls in place to prevent issues and more resources for mitigation if a problem does occur than with private septic systems surrounding the lake

HO HO HO – THERE’S HOLIDAY CHEER IN THE WATER WARS!

Clyde Morris, Legal Counsel to the Lake Lanier Association, wrote the following summary of the most recent happenings with the U.S. Supreme Court for the benefit of Lake Lanier Association members. Thank you Clyde!
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Admittedly, a case management order from a federal court judge is an unlikely source for holiday cheer. But sometimes you find happiness in places you didn’t expect.
Such is the case in the long-standing bout between Florida and Georgia over the waters of the ACF. LLA members will recall that the case is now in the hands of a new Special Master, Paul J. Kelly, Jr. of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Senior Circuit Judge of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Kelly issued an order on November 6 dealing with how the case will proceed. He quickly made it clear that he does not intend to expand the proceedings or drag this case out any more than is necessary. Even more promising is that he does not want to contribute to the states’ financial burdens, either.
The parties had submitted a joint memorandum on the issues of additional evidence, discovery, stipulations, hearings, and possible settlement. After reviewing it, Judge Kelly ruled that the existing record is sufficient to resolve the case, no additional discovery is needed, and only an additional non-evidentiary hearing may be beneficial.
In his words, “Given the voluminous record in the case resulting from virtually unlimited discovery and a lengthy trial, additional discovery will only lengthen the proceedings, delay the outcome, and increase litigation costs. There is ample evidence in the record pertaining to Georgia’s water use in the ACF basin, and Florida has not explained why a material change since 2016 appears likely. As for the effect of the revised manual, both the prior Special Master and the United States indicated that the revised manual was unlikely to change relevant flow conditions.”
Judge Kelly went on to say, “Finally, a major focus of the prior trial was the 2012 oyster fishery collapse and its causes; though Florida says that there is more information from 2016-2018 that might justify increased streamflow, there is ample lay and expert evidence in the record about these issues. The Special Master is not persuaded that more evidence pertaining to this harm is merited because the likely additional value of such evidence is outweighed by the significant cost and delay that will accompany producing and presenting it.”
While all of this is cause for cheer among those of us anxiously awaiting an end to the case, there is even more to be found in Judge Kelly’s reminder that, “Ultimately, Florida must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the benefits of an equitable apportionment decree substantially outweigh any harm that might result.”
Floridians may perceive Judge Kelly as more like Ebenezer Scrooge than Santa Claus as a result of this order. But bringing the case to the soonest possible close – and focusing on the extremely high standard of proof Florida must meet – certainly gives Georgians reason to be cheerful this holiday season.

100 Foot Rule Postcard

LLA is kicking off a boating safety campaign in 2019 related to awareness of the 100 foot rule. This postcard is the first piece of that campaign and we will start distributing these postcards at the boat show in January – along with some other swag related to this same concept. Can’t wait to get these out into the community!

Boating safety_Postcard_4.25x6_Page_1Boating safety_Postcard_4.25x6_Page_2

Derelict Dock Video from WSBTV

Good coverage on the derelict dock issue from WSBTV.  https://www.wsbtv.com/video?videoId=841061938&videoVersion=1.0

Advance Drop sites are now open!

The Shore Sweep advance drop locations are now open and will remain open until the evening of Friday, 9/14/18. You can leave bagged trash or large debris at these sites during this time and we will send a crew to pick up at the Shore Sweep event on 9/15. Please be sure to leave the debris high enough or tied off so that it doesn’t float back out into the water. Look for the banners posted and leave the debris close to the banner. Please do NOT use these sites for trash drop off other times of the year outside of our authorized advance drop location window.

advancedropsign

There are eight advance drop locations. The lake map coordinates are from the Atlantic Mapping Recreation and Fishing Guide for Lake Lanier.

Map coordinate J-7, closest buoy marker 1SM, old beach at Shady Grove Park
Map coordinate H-7, closest buoy marker 4YD, Beaver Ruin Road shoreline area
Map coordinate L-3, closest buoy marker 2SC, Gwinnett Park
Map coordinate N-9, closest buoy marker 14, Gaines Ferry Islands
Map coordinate L-18, closest buoy marker 33, Keith’s Bridge Island
Map coordinate M-24, closest buoy marker 49, Old Dawsonville Highway road bed near DNR regional office and Martin Docks
Map coordinate M-28, closest buoy marker 2WC, unnamed island in Wahoo Creek
Map coordinate D-21, closest buoy marker 21C, east side of Nix Island in the area of Athens Boat Club

Shore Sweep 2018!

The Shore Sweep 30 Year Anniversary Celebration event last weekend was a huge success and a great way to kick off Shore Sweep 2018! Thank you to the 400 people that attended and to the several hundred people that signed up to help at Shore Sweep 2018 coming up on Saturday, September 15th.

Advance drop sites will open this weekend, 9/1.

CHECK OUT THE ADVANCED DROP SITE LISTING
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Shore Sweep 2018 – Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Shore Sweep flyer 2018

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North Georgia Community
Foundation Building
615F Oak St, #200
Gainesville, GA 30501-8526

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