Okay, let's see if I am understanding the situation regarding the draining of the lakes at Panola Mountain State Park...
There are two earthen dams holding back the water at Alexander Lakes. One of the dams is owned by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the other one is owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
The issue seems to be with the dam which is owned by GDOT. Engineers have observed "seeping" from the earthen dam which is on the lower lake. We learned from the meeting that even though the dam is not dangerous at this time, it is felt that it is only a matter of time until the dam will fail.
In the state of Georgia, we have the Safe Dams Program. I think this was put into place after the tragedy in Toccoa, Georgia of the Kelly Barnes Dam where 39 people died (this was in November 1977).
Now, back to GDOT....it turns out that the reason behind the purchase of this property was for the purpose of mitigation credits for GDOT. Mitigation credits...I had never heard of this before. You may read more about it just here. If you are still with me, it turns out that the lower lake with the dam owned by GDOT was always intended to be drained and to be turned into a "wetlands', which we were assured will be a STREAM and not a SWAMP, as one of those in attendance at the meeting suggested that it might become! Once the level of the lake is lowered, there will be observation of the second dam and it is HOPED that the second upper lake will be saved. We shall see.
Now... about the meeting... it was packed! And all who were present were obviously passionate .about Panola Mountain State Park and the beautiful Alexander Lakes! One of those who stood up and asked several questions about the lake drainage, was Charlie Muise. Charlie is with the Audubon Society and of course, showed his concern for the environmental side of it. (Charlie was the one who was responsible for having Panola Mountain named as an IBA, Important Birding Area.). The meeting went on for almost two hours and there were so many questions, they had to almost push folks out of the door! (For myself, I was so hungry, I wanted to say, "Don't you guys have any DAM food?" HA!) Seriously, I should remind myself that I shouldn't go anywhere after a long day at work, I am getting too old to do things like that! Still, I am glad that we went, I really don't know if I understand it all completely, but what I took away from it is that ONE of the lakes MIGHT be saved. So...fingers crossed!
Happy Earth Day!