Lake Martin Resource Association

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Tornado cleanup at Children's Harbor

LMRA participates in tornado cleanup

August 15, 2011
Within 48 hours after the tornado on April 27, LMRA surveyed Lake Martin and began an effort to clean up the debris on the water. After consideration, it became evident that due to the size of the debris problem and the danger to volunteers, it was beyond the capability of volunteers to accomplish. LMRA then coordinated with Alabama Power Co to start the clean-up process. Again, on May 4 we surveyed the lake with Matt Bowden, VP for Environmental Affairs with Alabama Power Co, and called a meeting with officials from Tallapoosa and Elmore counties (commissioners, EMA’s and engineers), Alabama Power Co, FEMA, ADEM, and Alabama Marine Police. It was decided to elevate the problem to the Corps of Engineers (COE) and seek their assistance. At this point, our cleanup efforts were put on hold but we continued to participate in the planning and coordination efforts. The process was delayed because no governmental unit wanted to assume the cleanup responsibility and the associated cost.

On May 16, LMRA was interviewed on television and our frustration over the delay was evident. The next morning (May 17) we received a call from the state EMA Director that cleanup of Lake Martin was “top priority” with the Governor and we could expect to see a decision soon on who and when the cleanup would begin. With the Governor’s involvement, a contract was subsequently signed between the State and the Army Corps of Engineers and work began on May 21.

LMRA was interviewed numerous times by several statewide media outlets during the process and we had many opportunities to advise the public of the progress and the danger to boaters when on the water. At the request of the State EMA Director and with the assistance of Alabama Power and Marine Police personnel, LMRA placed 50 hazard buoys two days prior to Memorial Day in the 6 major areas where storm debris was prevalent in the water. These markers served to alert boaters to the danger in these areas. During the cleanup process several trips were made on the water to assist and advise COE personnel of specific debris problems. Prior to the completion of the cleanup, we travelled on July 21 with COE personnel to view via side scan sonar, the bottom of the lake to verify that the cleanup was complete. The State accepted the COE’s work as complete on July 27. Throughout the 2 months of work and our working with the COE, we were very impressed with the attitude of each of the on-site personnel. These individuals were professional and understood the importance of getting Lake Martin back to its pristine nature. They understood our passion and love for our lake and LMRA believes they did everything within their ability to restore Lake Martin to its pre-tornado status. We believe we can truly say again that LMRA upheld its mission of “working for the betterment of Lake Martin”. We hope you agree.



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