Lake Martin advocacy group sounds alarm on shoreline erosion

Concerns over erosion of Lake Martin

LAKE MARTIN, Ala. (WSFA) - A Lake Martin advocacy group is concerned about erosion along the shoreline. The association says it has received several complaints this summer.

No one argues Lake Martin is one of the jewels in Alabama - 44,000 acres, clear, clean and a destination for thousands of boaters every year.

John Thompson is the president of the Lake Martin Resource Association, an advocacy group for the massive lake. Thompson and fellow board member Randy Kirkland consider the erosion on the shoreline and some of the islands on the lake, such as doctor’s island, an alarming problem.

Thompson and Kirkland say they know what the problem is - boaters are creating massive wakes.

In some cases chunks of dirt are falling in the water, and trees are not far behind.

Thompson and Kirkland have no illusions to believe natural erosion won’t occur over time. The issue is that it seems to be more rapid than ever before.

Thompson estimates that at least a half-mile of shoreline is eroding, and that doesn’t include the islands.

The men pointed to a large island that is now split in two.

“It’s just another area we have to mark with a hazard buoy to keep people away from that area," Kirkland said.

If Alabama lawmakers pass the so-called proximity law next year, Thompson says that would help.

“You can no wake within 100 feet of the end of a dock," Thompson said.

It’s a double-edged sword for the Lake Martin Resource Association. Kirkland and Thompson want the boaters to come because they help the economy if they would just practice a little courtesy and go deep with their respect to lake proponents and property owners.

Marine police tell us while their job is public safety and not conservation, there are idle zones near public gas docks, public boat launches and public swimming areas. WSFA 12 News did learn there will be a new idle speed zone at the Elkahatchee Bridge near Highway 128 that runs past Wind Creek State Park.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.