Drawdown proposed for Banks Lake - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Drawdown proposed for Banks Lake

Visitor Services Manager Susie Heisey Visitor Services Manager Susie Heisey

Before drawing down a popular south Georgia lake, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to hear from those who use it.

The plan is to lower the water level at Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Lakeland to kill off and thin out some of the vegetation growing under the water. But, before the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service begins this process in November they want to hear from you.

Thick plant growth is what you'll find just under the surface of the water around much of Banks Lake. That's why the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it's time to once again lower the water level at the lake.

"We're going to lower the water level in the lake so that we can help to control the vegetation and to improve the fishery," said Susie Heisey, Visitor Services Manager for the Okefenokee and Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuges.

The goal is to expose approximately 30% of the vegetation in the lake so that the cold temperatures in the Winter will kill off the roots of the plants. If this isn't done every three to four years, the lake would become unusable.

 "We work very closely with the professionals from the Department of Natural Resources to help us plan this and we hope that the community would understand that we're doing it for the benefit of the community and for the fishery here at Banks Lake," Heisey explained.

The water will be transferred into nearby Lake Irma, which will also be drawn down, and the water control system at Banks Lake will be replaced. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of January, at which point the fish and wildlife service will allow the lake to begin filling back up.

A public input meeting regarding the drawdown will be held at the Threatte Center in Lakeland at 6:00 pm on October 29th.

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