Lake Lanier Drought

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If you live anywhere except under a rock, you most likely know Lake Lanier in Georgia has been facing its worst drought since it was built in the early fifties.
In 2007, the lake hit the record low of 1050.
79, which was a little over twenty feet below full pool.
Last year the media nationwide was all over the lake level.
Pictures were on the news every day of boats stuck high and dry on the shore.
A cemetery that was never moved became visible.
In 2008, the media has not covered the condition of the lake due to other important issues facing society.
With the lack of media coverage, many believe the lake level has recovered and it is not an issue.
This could not be further from the truth.
As of early November, the lake level is down approximately 19 feet.
Last year at the same time, the lake level was down approximately thirteen feet.
If the rest of the year proves to be dry, the record low of last year may soon be broken.
The one good note is that the lake level is not falling as fast as last year.
As a result the expected lake level should not surpass the record low of last year, but that is only a hope.
Most of the drop for this year was carried over from last year.
The million-dollar question is "When will we get an above normal rainfall for the year?" Hopefully 2009 will be the year we are waiting for to bring us out of the disaster.
If it does not happen, I believe the number of business around the lake that go out of business will be staggering.
The economic impact of the drought on the surrounding counties of Lake Lanier has to be substantial.
Being on the lake every day as a fishing guide, it is easy to see the number of people enjoying the lake is down fifty percent.
From my observations, I would dare to say the number of large boats over 24 feet is down more than fifty percent.
According to Jeff at the core of engineers, the revenue collected by the core from the parks and campgrounds is down fifty percent.
Talking to Holiday Marina, the fuel sales are down fifty percent.
Most of the boat dealers around the lake have cut their staff to bare bones.
Most of the boat sales around the lake are from customers from surrounding lakes.
Access points around the lake are down to a hand full on each side of the lake.
Most of the boat ramps have been closed for over a year.
Due to contributions from the local community, a few of the ramps have been extended.
However, most of the ramps that were extended were only down to the water's edge.
With the lake level being down seventeen feet, most of these extensions are still unusable.
The one ramp extension with the biggest impact was Charleston Park on the west side of the lake.
The ramp was extended below the water line so that the ramp would still be open until the lake drops to 1045, which is 26 feet below full pool.
The future of the lake is going to face many challenges.
The need for water will become more critical with each passing year.
As we all know, the litigation for control of the water will continue for years.
Hopefully, our elected officials, core of engineers, and court system will make the right decisions.
For those of you who have not been out on the lake, the lake is still safe to travel if you proceed with caution.
The core of engineers does a great job marking any shallow areas.
This does not mean to throw caution to the wind.
Do not take any short cuts between any islands, stay in the main channel when possible, and keep a close eye on your depth finder.
All of the businesses around the lake will greatly appreciate the business.
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