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38,000,000 acre Lake Lanier, located "45 minutes from Atlanta" is significantly named after Sidney Clopton Lanier, Confederate hero, poet, and musician. Lanier wrote a poem "The Song of the Chattahoochee," the river on which a dam was built by the U.S. Corps of Engineers to form this lake. Supposedly,
Lake Lanier began filling in 1956, and in 1957, 20 miles downstream, Morgan Falls Dam was raised to regulate the flow from Buford Dam to give Atlanta water during the hours it was needed most.
But, in the 1990's there was great controversy as the Corps of Engineers, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama have fought for use of the water held in Lake Lanier because Federal Law mandates that every state through which the river flows has water rights. Also, the states bordering Lake Lanier are affected by the Endangered Species Act which requires that water be available for threatened or endangered species that live in the environs.
In 2009, chosen as an arbitrator, a Minnesota federal judge ruled that Lake Lanier had never been authorized as a source of water supply for Atlanta. Therefore, Lake Lanier has become a point of contention for three states, especially in time of drought. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful, large lake with picturesque islands where many vacation and complete in fishing tournaments.
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