Staff Photo: John Bohn A goose floats on the water near Lake Lanier Park on Wednesday. The depth of the water at Lake Lanier is at winter full pool, measuring 1070 feet above mean sea level.
BUFORD -- Life on the lake is good these days.
The beautiful weather is only occasionally dampened by a spring cold snap, and, for the first time in a while, the Georgia red clay along the banks is covered with water.
This week, Lake Lanier hit full winter pool levels for the first time in two years.
"It's all because of the rain we had in the past month and a half," said Lisa Parker, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deputy public affairs officer. "We're really pleased to see that."
Just two months ago, the manmade lake was at drought levels, but officials expect it to remain full -- rising a foot to meet the summer full pool level of 1,071 feet above sea level when the threshold transitions next month.
John Crowe, the owner of WaterSports Central in Buford, went to the docks this week to check out the lake that serves as the lifeblood of his business. What he saw gave him high hopes for this summer.
"I'm very optimistic," Crowe said. "The economy seems to be going better and the lake is up. I think we are all ready for something good to start happening."
While a devastating drought between 2006 and 2009 caused a lot of boat dealers to close, Crowe said the most recent dry spell hasn't been as bad.
According to the Corps, the last time the lake has been at the 1,070 feet above sea level point was February 2011. It reached 1,071 feet in May 2010.
What is so exciting about this point is that downstream lakes at West Point and Walter F. George are also full, so the Corps does not have to discharge extra water to help out those areas.
But Parker noted that spring rains will lead to extra discharges because the lake's shore and surrounding property can be degraded if it fills into its flood storage area.
"They have fully recovered," she said of the lakes that have suffered in recent years. "It's outstanding news for Lake Lanier."