Rip Rap

Lake Lanier Island after rip rap construction

The Lake Lanier Association spearheads the only initiative to save and protect the islands. The islands that dot the middle of Lanier are wonderful, irreplaceable assets. They provide opportunities for wildlife habitat, beaches and coves for recreation, fishing spots and general enjoyment on Lake Lanier. As more and more of the shoreline erodes and falls into the lake, these areas between the islands become shallower and less usable for safe recreation. There are some areas on the Lake where the entire island has disappeared as a result of constant erosion. The loss of these islands is not only a loss for recreation but also for storage capacity as the sediment added to the lake reduces the storage capacity for drinking water storage.

Closeup picture of the rip rap process
Our Initiative

To date, three phases of Rip-Rap projects have been successfully completed. In total 12 islands and a little under two miles of shoreline has been protected since the initiative’s inception in 2014.

The largest phase was completed in May 2020. Rip-rap stone was installed across 6,100 linear feet of shoreline or over a mile.  This project protected three islands near the Old Federal Park campground and four located in the Three Sisters Islands chain.

This initiative is looking toward phase 4 and the process of identifying the islands to protect next!

The shoreline on these 12 islands have come to fruition from a combination of public and private funding. We are thankful for the funding support we have received which allows us to complete these projects without spending membership funding on the island erosion projects.

Construction workers on the shore line while using a rip rap technique

Funding has been provided by:

  • Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources
  • Hall County
  • The Chantal and Tommy Bagwell Foundation
  • The City of Gainesville Department of Water Resources
  • The City of Cumming Utilities
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Fieldale Farms
  • Pilgrim’s Pride Poultry Companies
  • Sunrise Cove Marinas

Thank you also to the contractors on the project –  Vulcan Materials, Marine Specialties and Boat Dock Works.


9,600 tons or 19,200,000 pounds of stone was used to armor these seven islands.


The islands that dot the landscape all over Lake Lanier contribute to the lake’s natural beauty. When the lake is at full pool, or 1,071 feet above sea level, there are approximately 160 visible islands. The islands offer a paradise for many lake visitors, with many favorites claimed early on popular summer weekend days.

With growing concern, LLA has recognized that many islands do not exist in their full glory anymore. Overuse and erosion have stripped them of their beauty, transforming them into hazardous areas. While shoreline erosion is a natural process, the increase in Lake Lanier’s boating activity has sped the erosion process, causing significant shoreline loss.

Not only does erosion cause a safety hazard for boaters, but erosion also leads to increased siltation. As silt builds up on the bottom of the lake, it effectively reduces the lake’s water storage capacity. Lake Lanier provides water for more than 4 million residents in North Georgia, so any reduction in the amount of water the lake can hold is a serious concern.

Learn More About Shoreline Protection Play Video

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