Active HOBO members often are asked a couple of very valid question by existing homeowners and especially by newcomers, both full time and part time. What is a HOBO? What do ya’ll do? These are great questions, and they provide a platform for us to respond in detail.

The Lake Martin Home Owners and Boat Owners Association, Inc., (HOBO) was founded in 2007 by a group of Lake Martin home owners to represent the best interests of all home owners and boat owners on the lake. During 2007, our lake suffered a terrible drought where we saw lake levels taken down 15 feet from full level. Some of this lake drainage was demanded by the Corps of Engineers to support an ill-fated dredging project. Also, Alabama Power was just starting the dam relicensing process, and our homeowners were not represented in these proceedings.

There is nothing like a crisis to gain interest, and HOBO soon had more than 2,000 homeowner members.

Lake Martin survived the crisis of 2007, and we won several benefits through the relicensing of our lake. HOBO continues to represent the best interest of the homeowners.

During the organizational meetings of the HOBO – and there were many – the mission of the association was always to represent the best interest of homeowners and to only represent the homeowners. HOBO does not represent any corporation or governmental body. Our board consists only of lake homeowners, and we do not accept any funds with strings attached from any organization, other than normal annual dues. To best serve our members after 12 years, we remain obligated to only one entity, our homeowners.

HOBO is dedicated to being an advocate organization for the Lake Martin homeowners and boat owners. Our board of directors continually looks for ways to improve life on Lake Martin. We monitor every filing made to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to change anything on our lakefront by any organization/corporation, and we will challenge anything we feel is not in the best interest of the homeowners. HOBO helps to monitor activities upstream in our watershed to ensure our water quality is great. We help to develop Neighborhood Watch groups and sponsor learning activities for schools and adults.

Rivers of Alabama Course

We recently sponsored a six-week course for adults entitled Rivers of Alabama, led by Dr. Bill Deutsch, Auburn professor. This course offered attendees information on rivers in our state, including history, geology, fisheries and water quality. Interest in the course exceeded our expectations, and we almost reached maximum capacity of the meeting facility.  

Due to the success of and homeowner interest in this course, we are in discussions with local schools and boards of education to hold a course only for teachers and interested upper-level high school students. A HOBO board member has graciously offered to donate the tuition for a large number of attendees.

Harris Dam Relicensing

Alabama Power is well into the FERC relicensing process for Harris Dam with studies being conducted. Of special interest, a study is being conducted to prove the validity of raising the winter level of their lake, similar to what happened to Lake Martin. Also, downstream landowners have filed numerous complaints about bank erosion during times of generation and water releases. Harris Dam has an issue with generation because they only have two generators, but basically have the same generating capacity as Martin Dam’s four generators. Harris typically generates three times a day for only one generator and one hour each period, which some contend causes pulsing in the downstream releases. Environmentalists love it for the fish, but landowners claim to have lost significant land in some cases. We will continue to monitor the studies and post any FERC information on our website at

Jesse Cunningham is president of Lake Martin Home Owners and Boat Owners Association, Inc. To learn more, him at