Impact of low lake levels to be studied

LAKE LANIER ISLANDS - A consulting firm hired by the 1071 Coalition plans to survey business owners near Lake Sidney Lanier to determine the economic impact of low water levels.

Ken Bleakly, president of Bleakly Advisory Group, said his organization will analyze the impact in three areas: the five counties bordering Lake Lanier, the metro Atlanta region and the state.

The 1071 Coalition, a nonprofit organization, was formed in October with the mission of keeping Lake Lanier at full pool - 1,071 feet above sea level. Although water levels have risen about 15 feet since December, the lake is about five feet below full pool.

"My great fear ... is we might take our eye off the ball," said Kit Dunlap, vice-chair of the 1071 Coalition, during a meeting on Wednesday evening.

Also during the meeting, Jerry Barnes, special assistant and director of the Southeast Water Manual Update for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, presented information about what is expected to be a 42-month-long process. He said the manual will guide the Corps in operating the lakes as a system within the Apalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint (ACF) River Basin.