It’s like the movie, High Noon, without horses. Joanna Cloud, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association (LLA), is the sheriff of Lake Lanier and she and her gang are removing derelict docks and boats from Lanier. And they won’t stop until they’ve driven all the jetsam from the lake.
You can almost hear the clocks ticking away the final hours away for abandoned party boats, rusty old docks and outlawed drifters clogging the shores, just looking for trouble. Joanna’s posse ain’t skeered. They’re gonna round up them bad boys and send them to the Boot Hill of scrap metal.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the Hall County Solicitor’s office have joined with LLA in the Abandoned and Derelict Dock and Vessel task force on Lake Lanier.
Fixin’ to just leave your watercraft trash in Lanier? Pfffft. Go ahead. Make their day. You can’t mess with the law or Lake Lanier and get away with it.
History of the Abandoned and Derelict Dock and Vessel Task Force
In 2015, the task force was created and comprised of members of the LLA, the USACE, and the Georgia DNR. The focus was to remove abandoned and derelict docks and vessels that threaten the cleanliness and safety of our lake. We started slowly but gradually built a discipline and a commitment to making a difference.
Quarterly meetings are now held to discuss real time issues and attempt to resolve all incidents by identifying the rightful property owner and encouraging them to remedy the situation. Sometimes that becomes an impossibility, and that’s where the task force takes more tactical actions to remove these eyesores and safety hazards.
The Good Guys have saved the day in 60 separate incidents. Some were tougher and more expensive than others, but they were no match for Joanna’s Gang of Heroes. Now, they’re better equipped to whup just about any derelict docks and boats on the lake.
Captain Johnny Johnson at the Georgia DNR credits the LLA for driving the success of the project by having volunteers coordinate efforts across the different agencies and keeping the focus on the project.
[In June 2018], the LLA was able to intervene on a dock debris dumping situation at the Toto Creek boat launch when a LLA member took photos of a local contractor dumping material at an unauthorized location and submitted the photos to the LLA.
The LLA contacted the contractor and also alerted the local and federal authorities to the situation and the situation has since been resolved.
Community awareness and having a communication channel for citizens to report suspicious activity is a key to preventing these situations from happening.
We need all the help we can muster to keep Lake Lanier clean and to drive out the ruthless, rusty rigs.
Joanna says “LLA is thankful to all who continue to make this success possible, specifically Nick Baggett and Ranger Stephen Cahn of the USACE, Captain Johnny Johnson and his team at the Georgia DNR and Stephanie Woodard and Daniel Sanmiguel of the Hall County Solicitors office.”
It ain’t over until the jetsam and junk left behind in Lake Lanier is all cleared up, and derelict docks and boats are a thing of the past.
The task force just wants to find “the rightful property owner, to encourage the property owner to take control of the situation and get it remedied.” Or else, hombre.