Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Epic Rainfall Floods Lake Hartwell To Record Highs

The Hartwell Lake dam flood gates were opened a day early to alleviate our record high lake levels. The last time the lake was this high was over 49 years ago on April 8, 1964 shortly after the manmade lake was completed. (Filling of the reservoir began in February 1961 and was completed in March 1962.)

This is our new accessible floating fishing pier on Hartwell Lake. High railings and a wheelchair friendly sidewalk ramp make it safe for those wheelchair bound to come enjoy fishing and sightseeing.

However, the lake water rose so quickly with our recent epic rains that the dock had to be closed.

The courtesy boat dock is also closed, but that didn't stop these boaters from using it anyhow. 

Harley dog and I used to walk this wooded area on soft grass and pine needles in the mornings but it's become quite swampy now.

The red lines indicate the normal full pond shoreline. The flooded shores present many new hidden obstacles for boaters.  The island in the distance is quite popular for parties.  Despite the island's beach being under water, many boaters anchored there anyhow though the crowds were a lot less than normal this past weekend.

The waves are tossing up loads of litter along the shoreline mixed in with pine needles, sticks and Styrofoam chunks possibly from floating docks.

With a shoreline of 963 miles, we are in desperate need of self appointed volunteers to help clean up the manmade garbage of bottles, cans, jars, wrappers, toys and Styrofoam.

Yesterday among the items I picked up along this shoreline were 2 propane bottles severely rusted.

Some boaters and lake visitors are under the impression that the lake is 660 feet deep and therefore an endless landfill to hide their garbage. But the 660 foot lake level is based on the number of feet above sea level.  The deepest point at full pond is 185 feet.

I was aghast to see a well known news site report that the lake was 665 feet deep. The professional journalist wasn't bothering to check details and facts in their haste to slap up a sensational article.

In a closed section of the park, Harley dog and I could smell something putting up an awful stink. I was beginning to think the very worst, that we might find a body washed up somewhere. I was gagging and turning to head back home. Then we stumbled upon these old dead fish, curiously stashed in a large stainless steel stock pot sitting on the curb of one of the terraced picnic sites.

Not a soul around anywhere. Not a drop of water or ice in the pot. Despite the horrendous stench, I managed to get the pot and fish to a nearby garbage can.  I tied up the garbage bag to try to put an end to the incredible odor.

It reminds me of a funny story from my decades living in the Caribbean. Early one morning on the radio during the local announcements of who died, who was born, who got married, who was having a family reunion and so on, a special announcement was made that Bus 19 was not running their route.

The announcer went on to say;
"To the fisherman who left his bucket of fish under the back seat of bus 19 yesterday, please come to the garage and claim the bus."



  1. I parked my RV by Lake Harwell many moons ago !

  2. The "fish on the bus story" is so funny it made me laugh out loud. You wonder why people just ignore their trash and assume someone else will pick it up, or that it will decompose and recycle back into the earth. I hope you get some volunteers to clean up the mess.

  3. People who trash our environment tend to be the most vocal about complaining when they encounter a previous "slugs" laziness and lack of concern. Empty trash cans; trashy shoreline - Disgusting!!!!

    The Troutman

  4. That's an amazing amount of water! Kudos to you for being a good person and taking care of "Mr. Smelly Fish!"

  5. I'd volunteer to help clean up if I could! I don't know why people are that way, I really don't. They probably would be the first to threaten your life if you dropped a paper towel on their property by accident though!


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