Rising Lake Lanier water levels affect local areas

By Lauren Hunter Multimedia Journalist
Posted 4:30PM on Thursday 13th February 2020 ( 7 months ago )

Just a slight glance off any bridge overlooking Lake Lanier will tell you that water levels are up. And it’s no surprise that they are- considering that most of the area surrounding the lake has experienced several inches of precipitation over the last week.

As of Thursday, current levels were at approximately 1,075-feet, according to data from the United States Geological Survey. Although this level still falls short of the all-time record of 1077 feet in 1964, the current levels are still four feet above the full pool level of 1,071-feet.

According to Lance Davis, Deputy Chief of Public Affairs for the Mobile District of the Army Corps of Engineers, the current lake levels and predicted precipitation were enough to stop generation at the Buford Dam.

Davis said the decision was made to help prevent flooding at downstream areas.

 “We’ll continue to hold off on releases until further notice and we’ll continue monitoring the downstream conditions as a result of rainfall,” said Davis.

The Army Corps of Engineers also announced in a Facebook post Wednesday that numerous boat ramps were closed until further notice. While a full list can be found at here, some of the closed ramps include Thompson Bridge, Mountain View and Keith Bridge.

The rising lake levels have also effected local parks, and Gainesville residents like George and Priscella Budzinack have noticed.

“We looked and we said, ‘what is that out on the water?’ and we finally figured out that it was the railing,” said George Budzinack.

“The swings and the benches back there, they’re all under water too,” Priscella Budzinack added.

In the meantime, the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department is working hard to maintain their parks despite the encroaching waters.

Gainesville Parks and Recreation director Kate Mattison said that staff are constantly out working, whether that means blowing leaves off tennis courts or dragging tee ball fields.

 “It’s just kind of a waiting game watching the weather and doing what we can, when we can,” said Mattison.

Mattison said that as far as city park boat ramps are concerned- Holly Park boat ramp is closed, but Lanier Point and Clarks Bridge ramps remain open.

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