More than 100 watershed lakes around Georgia will be studied because they have dams that are considered hazardous as they no longer meet requirements of the state's safe dams program, the Associated Press reported.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service will study 143 watershed lakes built by the federal government. It will cost $85 million to conduct the studies and to make improvements to the dams in the next few years, said Bill White, safe dam coordinator for the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission in Athens.
The federal government will pay 65 percent of the improvement costs. The state, and possibly local governments, will be also asked to participate.
According to White, all the dams on the watershed lakes are safe, but they are not in compliance because homes or other structures have been built downstream.
One of the lakes that will be looked at is north of Hamilton. Palmetto Creek Watershed Lake No. 1 is 12 to 15 acres and is one of three lakes built in the area in 1960 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service to provide flood control. The other two lakes meet state requirements.
But all three lakes are considered safe, White added.
"These dams were built to hold a massive amount of water," said Lewis Fokes, Natural Resource Conservation Service district conservationist. "Palmetto No. 1 is a massive dam. It's got eyes on it fairly frequently as a matter of routine."
Most of the watershed lakes that will be studied are in north Georgia.
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