Army Corps to let more water stay in Lake Lanier through April

16 11 2008

 

By Sarah Fay Campbell | The Times-Herald

The Corps announced that it had determined the reduction in flow would not have “any long-term significant environmental or human impacts.”

The lake is currently more than 18 feet below full pool.

The decision comes as the Corps is working on updating the “operations manual” for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin. It was the update of the manuals 18 years ago that touched off what has become known as the “tri-state water wars.”

Lanier reached record lows last year, thanks to a historic drought and releases from Buford Dam meant to maintain certain flows into the Apalachicola River below Lake Seminole. The flows were needed to protect endangered mussels and sturgeon in the river.

But for most of 2008, the water flowing over the Buford Dam had nothing to do with endangered species, Alabama, or Florida.

Though north Georgia is still in a a drought, there has been enough rainfall in the southern part of the basin to take care of the flows into the Apalachicola.

The water coming out of Lanier was only to keep minimum stream flows in the Chattahoochee between Lanier and West Point Lake.

Certain water levels are essential to dilute the millions of gallons of treated sewage that are put into the river every day from metro Atlanta.

The Corps will reevaluate the reduction in flows in the spring. Higher flows will almost certainly be necessary in the summer months to protect water quality.

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