State OK to fill lake is received, Corps approval yet to come
Just as predicted last week by Grady County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources issued its approval to commence filling the Tired Creek Lake.
Cauley had reported to the members of the Grady County Commission last Tuesday night that a final draft of the state safe dams program was being circulated and should be finalized within a week.
In a letter dated Dec. 14, Robert E. Sauer Jr., environmental engineer with the state safe dams program wrote to County Commission Chairman LaFaye Copeland, “The Division grants permission to commence filling the reservoir once you have approval from all other agencies.”
Now, the county is awaiting approval of a revised mitigation plan and satisfaction of compensatory mitigation obligation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
According to attorney Laura Benz, who is the county’s central contact with the U.S.A.C.E., the county has satisfied the U.S.A.C.E. on all permit requirements with the exception of the compensatory mitigation requirement.
According to Benz, the U.S.A.C.E. determined that unauthorized deviations by a county consulting engineer resulted in the county having a deficiency of 107,385.65 stream mitigation credits.
The county is seeking to purchase the required number of stream credits from the In Lieu Fee program.
Three proposals have been accepted by the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust and are being evaluated. According to Benz, the sites were inspected by Land Trust officials last week.
Once the Land Trust determines the project will satisfy the requirements under the program instrument and final approval for the ability to sell the advance credits is received, the Land Trust can then inform the county of the cost associated with providing the stream mitigation deficiency, according to Benz.
Attorneys Benz and Cauley say once the mitigation requirements are satisfied the Corps will allow the county to begin filling the 960-acre lake.