Corps set to sign off on final permit
Grady County officials learned early today the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division has issued a 401 Water Quality Certification for the proposed Tired Creek lake. This clears the way for a final permit to be transmitted to local officials for execution and for the lake to be built.
Grady County commissioners are planning a permit presentation ceremony on the courthouse lawn Tuesday, June 1, beginning at 4 p.m.
The details of the ceremony, which is open to the public, were not finalized at presstime Wednesday, but Commission Chairman Al Ball and Tired Creek Consultant and Project Manager Wm. Thomas Craig are expected to speak.
“This has been the dream of many people in Grady County for many, many years. The board of commissioners wants this to be a community celebration of finally receiving a permit to construct a recreational lake on Tired Creek,” said County Administrator Rusty Moye.
Visit cairomessenger.com for more details on the Tuesday ceremony.
Leading up to the state’s issuance of the 401 certification was the May 10th issuance by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of a provisional permit for the 960-acre Tired Creek lake.
Grady County Commissioners on Friday wrapped up a three-day road trip seeking to finalize the permitting process for the proposed Tired Creek lake.
According to County Administrator Moye, the three days of meetings with various officials involved in the process was most beneficial and gave local leaders a better understanding of the provisions of the permit.
The commissioners, along with Moye and County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley, left last Wednesday and drove to Covington to meet with Tired Creek consultant and project manager Wm. Thomas Craig.
“The meeting with Tommy was very good. He was able to go over all of the conditions included in the provisional permit and ease the concerns of the commissioners,” Moye said.
The county administrator said that Craig explained that most of the conditions are standard for permits of this type and Moye described them as “boilerplate.”
Conditions that were particular to the Tired Creek lake “seemed acceptable to the board as they were consistent with the intentions of the commissioners to develop a recreational lake on the property,” according to County Attorney Cauley.
Cauley added, “I am encouraged by the protections that the board accepted in the provisions of the permit that insure an environmentally responsible project while still maintaining the integrity of a valuable recreational resource for our community.”
On Thursday the commissioners traveled to the Social Circle offices of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife Resource Division to meet with DNR Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Terry West and Wildlife Resources Division chief of Fisheries Management John Biagi.
“They really set a good tone for the rest of the meeting,” Moye said.
“They told the commissioners they are more than glad to assist them in the design and management and stocking of the lake as well as enforcing state laws regarding bodies of water such as this. They will furnish their expertise to the county at no charge and they are looking forward to working with commissioners to insure best management practices are utilized,” Moye said.
The administrator says this was the local delegation’s first meeting with West, and Moye says he was “very upbeat and ready to come down now and review the site and begin the process.”
Both Moye and Cauley described Friday’s meeting with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as cooperative and pleasant.
“The people with the Corps answered all of the questions we had and were able to ease any remaining concerns regarding the provisions in the permit,” Moye said.
Corps officials Russell Kaiser, chief of the regulatory division, and Richard Morgan, chief of special projects section, explained why the process has been so lengthy.
“We were told this was a precedent setting permit for the Corps in that they have not permitted a recreational lake of this size previously. They had to feel their way through the process and make sure they fulfilled all of the requirements of the permitting process,” Moye said.
During the meeting with the Corps county officials discussed the 100 foot buffer around the lake that is required by the permit. The Corps would have to approve of any uses of that buffer.
One of the possibilities the commissioners discussed is maintaining the buffer in such a way that the public would have access to lake at various points around it but could bank fish from a county-maintained trail around the entire lake.
“The final provisions of the permit insure a framework that balances nature with recreational uses in a way that will make this an extremely unique asset for the benefit of our community and the region. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a true tourism industry in Grady County,” Attorney Cauley said.