Lake levels falling; Corps responds

Lake levels along the Chattahoochee River have been dropping in recent weeks and are expected to continue to do so for the near future. This includes Lake Lanier, West Point Lake, and Lake Walter F. George.

The decline is typical this time of year due to decreased inflows into the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin and higher evaporation levels that occur in the late summer and fall. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notes that rainfall the last 60 days has been below normal resulting in reservoir levels being below the median. Lake Lanier, for instance, was about five feet below normal for this time of year Tuesday morning. (See picture.)

“Water released from the reservoirs are meeting basin wide requirements.”  said James Hathorn, Mobile District Water Management Chief.  “Our operation will remain conservative during this period to minimize impacts.  We are not expecting rain to improve conditions until the winter.”

National Weather Service forecast indicates rainfall maybe above normal for the winter because of strong El Niño conditions.  This would increase the likelihood of reservoirs refilling to target levels.

With water levels expected to drop, the Corps of Engineers recommends that dock owners consider removing boats from the reservoir prior to the decline to avoid becoming grounded.

“We want to remind the recreational public to be cautious,” said Dustin Gautney, Mobile District Public Affairs Chief. “Underwater hazards such as shoals, tree stumps, and old roadbeds are closer to the surface and pose greater danger to boaters and swimmers. The best way to practice safety on the water is to always remember to wear your life jacket and watch for obstructions.”

(Pictured: File photo. Little River Park on Lake Lanier at 5.1 feet below normal.)