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Army Corp of Engineers approves increase to Logan Martin winter lake level

Logan Martin lake levels ducks

The Alabama Power said the Logan Martin winter pool will increase by two feet, from 460 to 462 feet.

The Army Corps of Engineers has approved a request from Alabama Power to increase the winter lake level of Lake Logan Martin.

In a news release that was distributed Thursday, Alabama Power announced the approved change, which will take effect in the fall of 2022.

The company said the Logan Martin winter pool will increase by two feet, from 460 to 462 feet.

The release said that with the timing of the Record of Decision signed by the Corps on Aug. 27, Alabama Power will need to further coordinate with the Corps and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before the new winter pools can be implemented.

The mayors of Pell City, Rivers and Lincoln, which all significantly border the lake,  all celebrated the move, which has long been a priority for each of their respective cities. 

Lincoln Mayor Lew Watson said the effort to have an increase in winter pool levels has been a long one.

“I have difficulty in remembering how long ago we started on this trail and to see it finally in sight is very, very good,” he said. “We see this as one of the most positive things that can happen on our lake.”

Pell City Mayor Bill Pruitt said he hosted a meeting between himself, Watson Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup, Alabama Power, FERC, USACE, Congressman Mike Rogers and representatives from both Senator Richard Shelby and then Senator Jeff Sessions’ offices shortly after he was elected in 2016. He said the meeting was meant to get the status of raising the winter pool and work out where the issues were. Pruitt said that meeting and several others that have happened since have allowed for the change to finally be approved. 

He said he shared Watson’s excitement to finally see it happen, as helping make the lake better for residents has been a priority of his administration.

“I am very excited about it with the lake being so important to our community,” Pruitt said. 

He said according to Alabama Power's proposal the change will also allow the lake to make it to summer pool, 465 feet, one week earlier and return to winter pool a month earlier, extending the amount of time people can enjoy the lake. Pruitt said it will also increase the amount of boat launches on the lake usable during the winter. 

“In 2016, (Alabama Power) said that this additional two feet was gonna make eight additional boat launch sites available during the winter,” he said, adding that the company said it would significantly improve 11 other sites. 

Pruitt said Alabama Power also estimated that the added two feet would increase lakefront property value by five percent or about $26 million. 

Speaking in January of 2020, Alabama Power Manager or Reservoir Management Alan Peeples said a USACE report showed that the increase in winter pool will also increase the annual recreational value of the lake from $16,167,000 to $16,666,000. 

Jessup said he feels this change will be good for commerce and also good for people.

“We think it's food for the lake, commerce and we feel it's good for citizens,” he said. 

Jessup said he also thinks it will be good for fishing by allowing for more shallow water for game fish to breed in. 

“This area of the lake is shallower and game fish love shallow water,” the mayor said. 

Watson said he feels the winter pool increase will also benefit Lincoln’s Landing, the city’s new bass tournament park. He said the park was built with a year-round boat launch but this change  will only make the lake more accessible to the people who enjoy it.

 

Taylor Mitchell, Daily Home reporter covering Pell City.