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Visiting Georgia's Lakes

April 17, 2016
Boat docked at Florence Marina State Park

Spring is a great season to see the great outdoors in Georgia. The weather’s warming up, plants are blooming and we’ve all caught spring fever. Why not use some of that restless energy to explore one of Georgia’s greatest treasures … its lakes?

Natural Lakes

Due to the shape and geological conditions of the land, the state of Georgia does not have many naturally-formed lakes. Most of Georgia’s natural lakes are in the southern Coastal Plain where pockets of earth fill up with rain and groundwater. Freshwater muscles and snails live abundantly in Georgia’s rivers and natural lakes when engineers leave the water unaltered.

Man-Made Lakes

Most of the lakes you will visit in Georgia — Lake Sinclair, Lake Chatuge, West Point Lake and so many more  — are man-made. These types of lakes are usually created when humans build artificial dams in an existing river or stream. Builders sometimes protect smaller reservoirs from seepage by compacting the loose soil around it or lining the reservoir with fabric or compacted clay. Though we love to fish and boat in these lakes, they are also constructed for power generation, flood control, navigation, irrigation and water supply. Thousands of man-made dams in Georgia’s rivers and streams form ponds and lakes throughout the state.

The Georgia Power Company, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the first large reservoirs in Georgia in the early 20th century for use in power generation and flood control. New lakes today are being constructed mainly to increase local water supplies.

Activities

Many of the lakes in Georgia are available for fishing, boating, waterskiing and more! Man-made lakes are often stocked with fish, so you may find species in these lakes that wouldn’t have naturally lived there. If you go swimming in a man-made lake, you may notice more suspended — rather than attached — algae than you would see in natural lakes due to differences in flow and sediment.

Learn more about the differences between man-made and natural lakes from the New Georgia Encyclopedia, and happy exploring!

Rachel Hart

About the Author

Rachel Hart is the User Experience Designer for Digital Services Georgia. On Georgia.gov, she makes government material approachable with writing, infographics, videos, and other imagery.

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