4-H cleanup

Local 4-H kids chose to take an active role in keeping our Treasured Lake clean.

The greatest obstacle to making Lake Martin a better place, said Lake Martin Resource Association board member Adams Hudson, is “Someone Else Syndrome.”

“You know what that is. That’s when a person sees something that needs to be done – maybe some litter picked up on the lake or a shallow rock marked with a buoy – and says ‘Someone needs to take care of that,’ meaning ‘Someone besides me,’” Hudson said. “If you see something that needs attention, you be the someone else.”

Hudson made the closing remarks at the LMRA Annual Meeting, which was held at Kowaliga Restaurant and drew the attendance of some 150 of the organization’s members.

Hudson also urged each member to recruit one new member to the organization, which advocates for a clean, safe lake through a variety of cleanup programs, the lighted buoy campaign and legal action, if needed.

LMRA president John Thompson said growing the organization’s membership is one of the main goals this year.

“We especially would like to have more members in the Blue Creek and StillWaters area. There’s a lot of work to be done in that part of the lake, and we don’t have near enough participation there,” he said.

Another goal for the 2019-2020 year is continued growth of the lighted buoy program, which replaces unlit buoys with lighted models where appropriate.

The third objective for the year is to strengthen the routine litter pick-up programs and avoid incidences of litter buildup. For the past 10 years or so, LMRA has spearheaded an effort to rid the lake of accumulated litter and trash that, in some places, has collected since the lake was created almost 100 years ago.

Additional speakers at the meeting included Lt. Mark Fuller with Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s marine patrol, who asked Lake Martin Resource Association membership to report and help prosecute reckless boating on Lake Martin.

“There’s a lot of you; there are fewer of us,” Fuller told the members in attendance.

He reminded the LMRA membership that when a personal watercraft operator jumps the wake of another vehicle, it constitutes reckless boating and is a prosecutable offense.

“If you see that, and you want to prosecute, please call us,” he said. “Jet skis are a high target for us. They are smaller, less visible and hard to catch. They have no lights. They are faster than we are.”

Fuller said personal watercraft pose a particular safety problem in Blue Creek, where the vehicles frequently operate after dark, which is prohibited by law.

LMRA legal counsel Steve Forehand reviewed two legal issues in which the organization is involved: the relicensing of R.L. Harris Dam and the ongoing Water Wars.

Stakeholders in the Harris Dam project have requested a higher winter pool level, and Forehand said, if the provision is included in the new license there, it could benefit Lake Martin with more frequent fall extensions. The Martin Dam license allows Alabama Power Company to extend the summer water level to mid-October when certain conditions exist within the river basin.

Forehand also told members that briefs have been filed in the Water Wars suit challenging the revision of the Army Corps of Engineers water manual, which authorizes retention of flow from Alabama’s water sources, including the Tallapoosa River, which feeds Lake Martin.

Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association president Jerry Bynum discussed the organization’s continuing work to complete a bridge over Channahatchee Creek on the Forever Wild property south and west of Martin Dam known as the Yates Lake area. The bridge is expected to allow accessibility to more area for hikers in the future.