USACE: Use caution with high water
by Matt Shinall
May 10, 2013 | 674 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
All spillgates at Allatoona Dam were opened earlier this week and, as of press time Thursday, were scheduled to remain open until further notice as heavy rain has led to high waters on the lake.

More rain is expected beginning today, but boaters taking to the water are urged to be aware of submerged obstacles and floating trees. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Allatoona Lake Chief Ranger of Recreation Linda Hartsfield advises anyone getting on the lake this Mother’s Day weekend to take precautions because of the altered conditions, including always wearing a life jacket.

“Be very cautious if you are going to boat on the lake,” Hartsfield said. “We’ve seen a lot of live trees that have eroded off the bank and they are floating around. The water is very high, so you may not see some signs that are underwater at this time.

“We are anticipating more rain. We do not know how much rain we’ll get, and of course, generation will depend on downstream river gauges and what Rome can handle.”

Thursday afternoon, Allatoona was nearly 7 1/2 feet above full summer pool, which is 840 feet-mean-sea-level, but levels are dropping. Allatoona Dam will continue to release water as long as downstream river levels remain safe.

“We’re dropping about 1/100th [of a foot] every hour and we’re down as of 11:15 [a.m. Thursday] to 847.48 [ft-msl],” Hartsfield said. “We’ve dropped 5/100ths of a foot since 4 a.m. this morning. The crest happened Tuesday and that was at 847.80 around 9:30 Tuesday night. So that’s only 32/100ths, but we couldn’t start generating until Tuesday about 2 p.m. because of the river gauges downstream in Rome.

“We are a flood-control project, and that’s why Allatoona Dam was built, to protect life and property downstream.”

The 847.80 ft-msl water level reached Tuesday is the highest seen at Allatoona since 2009.

As of Thursday, some Bartow County recreation sites and boat ramps were still affected by high water levels. Clark Creek, Cooper Branch and Tanyard Creek boat ramps were all closed Thursday although the Blockhouse Ramp remained open. Picnic areas at Cooper Branch, Cooper’s Furnace and Riverside Park were all open. Although some waterside camping spaces were closed, both McKaskey and McKinney campgrounds were open and had spaces available for this weekend.

For updated information, visit the USACE Allatoona Lake Facebook page. Visit www.facebook.com and search for “US Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Allatoona Lake.”