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May 17, 2022

Congresswoman Bourdeaux Introduces Bill To Improve Public Safety Along The Chattahoochee River

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07) introduced legislation to research and improve safety along the Chattahoochee River. The Lake Lanier and Upper Chattahoochee River Safety Act would direct the Army Corps of Engineers to carry out a review of potential dangers facing recreational areas near Buford Dam and Lake Sidney Lanier, Georgia. 

“The Chattahoochee River features great recreational activities many of us enjoy,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux. “Unfortunately, activity at Buford Dam can lead to rapidly rising water levels with little to no warning. This study will help us keep the Chattahoochee River safe and accessible for all.”

Based on the findings of this review, the bill would authorize the Corps to install technologies and measures that are necessary to alert the public of hazardous water conditions or to otherwise minimize or eliminate any identified threats to human life and safety.

The Chattahoochee River is used by thousands of people across Georgia for recreation purposes, including kayaking and rafting. Unfortunately, several times a month, local rescue departments are called to rescue people from the river due to water releases from Buford Dam and the resulting rising water levels. During a release, the Chattahoochee can rise as much as 11 feet in minutes.

Katherine Zitsch, Managing Director of Natural Resources at the Atlanta Regional Commission said “In Georgia, we are fortunate to have policy makers who prioritize the importance of our water resources. Protecting the wellbeing of people while they enjoy Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River allows Georgians to safely connect with these important natural resources.”

While the Army Corps of Engineers usually releases water from Buford Dam during weekday afternoons, in some situations unscheduled water releases can come in the morning and on weekends. The Corps gives notice of releases, but the announcements vary from a few minutes to a few hours in advance.

Currently, people can call 770-945-1466, listen to 610 AM on the radio, or check the release schedule online.

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Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lives with her family in Suwanee, Georgia, and represents Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the 117th Congress. Carolyn is a strong advocate for affordable health care, and economic recovery that puts workers and small businesses first, and investing in her district’s world-class public education system and transportation infrastructure. 

Georgia’s fast-changing 7th Congressional District includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and cities Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Sugar Hill, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Grayson, and Buford