Fortunately with the exception of droughts, southeast Georgia tends to escape some of the horrific weather that affects other parts of our state and country such as tornadoes, flooding, wildfires and hurricanes. So much so, that I tend to forget about dangerous weather and its effects much of the time.
In the last several weeks, we have had not one, but two dams break in our area. On April 21, the dam serving Brannen Lake on Lotts Creek Road broke because its piping was outdated and had "rusted out."
However, the most recent dam break which occurred last week was the direct result of unusually heavy rainfall. The dam served an irrigation lake on Georgia Highway 17 near the Cooperville, Dover and Rocky Ford communities.
It is very unusual in this area for dams to give out, bringing potentially horrific results for both their owners and those in the path of the unleashed water. I spoke recently with Lynda Brannen Williamson. Her father and his sisters developed Brannen Lake, and members of her family continue to live in close proximity to it. There are other developments by her family in the area that enjoy Brannen Lake as a natural resource as well.
Williamson said many problems present themselves when a dam breaks.
"It was a very sad day when that happened," she said. "The lake, and what had been developed around it, was really my dad's legacy. So there was that aspect. Further, in our case, there was an aesthetic factor. People had purchased homes on the lake, and they wanted a lake view. That was gone."
Brannen also mentioned the loss of fish and other wildlife in the area dependent on the lake.
"For us, a creek feeds the lake so we can replenish fish in that way, but for others, that may not be the case," she said. "We are very grateful that there wasn't a lot of property damage done as a result of the dam breaking."
Williamson said the dam was replaced with a more modern siphon dam, and the lake has filled back to its original level.
"We had to extend the shoreline of the lake because we needed so much dirt for dam construction," she said. "It took at least 40 to 50 dump trucks of dirt. We think this will be a very good dam, and replacing it so the lake could fill back up was absolutely the right thing to do. It is a horrible feeling when something like that happens, and I feel very sorry for those going through it right now."
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org