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Lake Lanier at lowest level since historic drought

Lake Lanier at lowest level since historic drought

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Authorities say Lake Lanier is now at its lowest level since March 2009 after dropping two feet in two weeks.

Officials say the lake is now at 1,058 feet above sea level, or 13 feet below full pool.

The Times of Gainesville reports that the last time Lake Lanier hit such a low mark was during the 2007-09 drought, when the lake was at 1,050.79 feet.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts that Lanier could drop to 1,055.2 feet by Dec. 21.

The agency says there's been very little rain anywhere in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin in recent days. The basin includes portions of Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Owner of Simon Property Group recognized by CDP for climate change disclosure

Owner of Simon Property Group recognized by CDP for climate change disclosure

ATLANTA -- Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE:SPG), the world’s leading retail real estate company, recently announced two awards recognizing its commitment to sustainability issues.

Atlanta-area Simon properties include Lenox Square, Mall of Georgia, Northlake Mall, Phipps Plaza and Town Center at Cobb.

For the second consecutive year, SPG has been recognized by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) with inclusion in its select Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI). Yet again in 2012, SPG was the only real estate company to be awarded the CDLI distinction.

15 counties must clean their air

15 counties must clean their air

ATLANTA -- Air Quality Awareness Week recently came to a close, and 15 metro Atlanta counties didn't quite make the clean air cut.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently changed its standards of attainment for ozone standards from .08 parts per billion to .075 parts.

The change means that 15 formerly compliant counties were re-designated at nonattainment for ground-level ozone: Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Paulding and Rockdale.

To clean up the air, residents can try carpooling to work or taking MARTA if possible; fewer cars on the roads means more breathable air for everyone in metro Atlanta.

Learn more about how to reduce emissions and cut down on ozone at www.cleanaircampaign.org.

FEMA encourages Chattahoochee-area residents to learn flood risks

FEMA encourages Chattahoochee-area residents to learn flood risks

ATLANTA -- As 2011 draws to a close, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages all Americans to understand the risks that surround them -- and for residents of the Upper Chattahoochee River Region, those risks include the possibility of flooding.

FEMA worked with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to create maps of the 107-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River between the Buford Dam and Coweta County, which includes Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

These updated maps detail flood hazard and risk data with the ultimate goal of protecting homeowners from flooding.

Maps for those who live in the Chattahoochee flood region are available at www.georgiadfirm.com. Learn more about steps to prevent flood damage at www.ready.gov/floods.

Deal appoints new Ga. EPD director

Deal appoints new Ga. EPD director

ATLANTA -- Jud Turner has been appointed director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR board made the appointment official this week after Gov. Nathan Deal nominated Turner for the post.

Turner replaces F. Allen Barnes, who is leaving to work in the private sector.

Turner is a founding partner in the law firm Turner, Bachman & Garrett LLC and public affairs firm Georgia360 LLC. He was former Gov. Sonny Perdue's lead attorney and represented the governor during negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service during the state's severe drought.

Turner has also served as general counsel to the Georgia Department of Education.

Army Corps limits water flow from Lake Lanier

Army Corps limits water flow from Lake Lanier

ATLANTA -- The flow of water from a reservoir that serves much of Metro Atlanta will be restricted as a conservation step during an ongoing drought.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday that it will cut the flow of water from the dam at Lake Lanier from 750 cubic feet per second to 650 cubic feet per second. Army Corps spokesman Pat Robbins said the goal is to save water in case the drought gets worse.

If more water is available in Lake Lanier, more can be released later on to supplement river systems.

Georgia officials asked for the conservation step earlier this month.

Army officials said they evaluated information from Georgia authorities and determined that decreasing the flow of water into the Chattahoochee River will not harm the environment.

Gwinnett celebrates America Recycles Day

Gwinnett celebrates America Recycles Day

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Gwinnett officials are planning the county's second annual America Recycles Day celebration.

Hosted by the Gwinnett County Solid Waste Division, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Coolray Field, home of the Gwinnett Braves.

"This event emphasizes the importance of environmental sustainability for the future of Gwinnett County, in addition to giving back to those in need," said Tom Keith, director of the Solid Waste Division.

In addition to recycling, paper shredding, tire disposal and electronics turn-in, the celebration will include touch-a-truck displays, family activities, giveaways and refreshments. There will be a $10 fee to recycle televisions; everything else is free. Attendees are encouraged to bring canned food for the Salvation Army.

Coolray Field is located at 1 Braves Avenue in Lawrenceville.