In the late sixties, Lake Martin experienced very, very low water levels which brought about extreme concern among property owners and all lake interests. A group of 35 concerned citizens came together under the leadership of Ben Russell to address this low lake level. This group hired an attorney, chartered a plane and flew to Washington. With the help of local and state officials and media representatives, Senators and Congressmen, this group was successful in persuading the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to include reasonable lake level guidelines in the new license for the operation of Martin Dam.
From that time to today, LMRA has continued to work with Alabama Power in an effort to provide better summer and winter lake levels and currently is participating in the Martin Dam Relicensing project. Additional projects and goals have been added. Three of the more important projects have been the purchase, placement and maintenance of lake hazard buoys to provide for boating safety, the $5000 Reward Program and environmental education thru lake clean up efforts. LMRA has been and will continue to work for the betterment of Lake Martin for today and the future.
A message from Mr. Ben Russell
To everyone who truly loves Lake Martin,
In the late sixties several occurrences of very, very low water levels in Lake Martin brought about extreme concern among cabin tenants and the many other folks who truly loved this lake. In those days I was an employee of the “cotton mill” side of Russell but with a thinly disguised hankering for the out-of-doors part of the business. I was quick to accept a “request” to fill a new full-time position with “The Lands Company.” The instructions were clear: “Do whatever is necessary to help everyone pull together to insure that Lake Martin remains, ‘The best lake in the country.’” I was able to spend months calling on every business, putting out posters, raising money and taking countless pictures of the “moonscapes” created by the acres of muddy lake bottom. By December of 1970, however, a Washington attorney had been hired and a plane chartered to take some thirty-five citizens and local and state officials to the Nation’s Capitol. This delegation, accompanied by many media representatives, successfully lobbied for the support of our Senators and Congressmen.
Before returning to Alabama this task force had persuaded the, now, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to include reasonable lake level guidelines in the new license for the operation of Martin Dam. This mandate remains in place today and a notice of all deviations must be submitted to LMRA, related governmental agencies and the media. We have recently worked with the Power Company to reach a consensus on a more lake friendly water level schedule. As I recall, the Feds recommended delaying this, “Until after the Water Wars.” We were also much supportive of recent emergency releases at Martin.
In short, LMRA was here in the beginning and continues to serve the people of Lake Martin in many areas, including funding and maintaining the “hazardous area” buoys and sponsoring many clean up efforts. All of that is history and today is today. I also know that LMRA needs and deserves new and energetic leadership, and to that end, an expanded group of enthusiastic members have volunteered to serve on a much-updated board. A new President has been elected to provide leadership to LMRA……. I know that you will give this new leadership the support that it needs to keep LMRA working for you and for the lake that we love so much.
Thanks so much,