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Lake Lanier Association receives state recognition

FORSYTH COUNTY — An organization that watches over Lake Lanier recently received a state honor.

The Lake Lanier Association took first place in the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation’s statewide Community Greening contest.

“It’s nice to be recognized for our efforts,” said Joanna Cloud, a Forsyth County resident and president of the group. “It was a big thrill for me, personally, to be recognized by Keep Georgia Beautiful, especially since we’re not officially one of their affiliate organizations.

"But they looked outside their own group and saw [we were] doing something kind of interesting on Lake Lanier.”

According to Cloud, it was the first time the lake group had won the award. She cited its annual shore sweep as a factor in this year’s competition.

“On average, we pull 30 tons of debris every year out of Lake Lanier,” she said. “[Shore sweep’s] a lakewide event, and we operate out of 12 different locations around the lake on [that day].

“A great deal of coordination and organization go into coordinating 1,000 volunteers across 650 miles of shoreline.”

Also aiding the group’s cause was a new program to remove damaged docks and boats from the lake. It is part of a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Natural Resources.

“The abandoned dock and vessels program is something that we started really about a year and a half ago … trying to identify problematic docks and vessels and trying to identify owners and figuring out ways to either apply pressure and get the owners to resolve the issue,” Cloud said.

“Or in circumstances where we can’t find the owner, going through a legal process of declaring things legally abandoned and then looking for partners to help us get these things out.”

According to Cloud, at least a dozen vessels on docks have been removed since the program began.