News


Mar 24, 2019 - Joann Hartley, Aiken, SC

Letter: Keep the Lock and Dam

"Keep the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. It’s a lifeline and deserves the respect of proper maintenance.

Even something as simple as a half-decathlon or a boat race is important to the thriving new community of cyber technicians and other upcoming executives moving to the area. With their new incomes, they expect to be able to purchase an enhanced quality of life."


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Mar 21, 2019
Riverfront Homeowner Keith Shafer speaks at Augusta Meeting to save the lock and dam

Augusta Chronicle - Tom Corwin - Mar 21, 2019


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Congressmen vow to fight for full pool in Savannah River

“U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Rick Allen, R-Ga., came to Riverwalk Augusta to urge people to speak out at a Thursday night public comment hearing in Augusta about the Corps’ plan. The congressmen who represent the districts that border both sides of the river said they will fight to keep a strict reading of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act 2016, which requires the Corps to “maintain the pool for water supply and recreational activities that existed on the date of enactment,” which on Dec. 16, 2016 when the act passed was at 114.5 feet above sea level.

Col. Daniel Hibner, commander of the Savannah District of the Corps, has said the Corps believes that the act only requires it to keep the pool at a level that would maintain those functions. …”


Augusta Chronicle - Tom Corwin - Mar 21, 2019

Public hearing on Savannah River lowering prompts lively discussion

"At the beginning of what turned into a lively public hearing Thursday, the cities of Augusta and North Augusta were given a little sticker shock: the option they want to repair New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam will now cost nearly $400 million over the 100-year life of the program, according to new figures from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

And it is no longer an option anyway because it is not as good at passing endangered fish up the Savannah River to Augusta, a Corps spokesman said.

At times indignant and defiant, at times funny or filled with angry shouts from the audience, the cities gathered public comments to send to the Corps as part of its response to its recommended plan that would also lower the pool in the river between the two communities. ..."


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US Army Corps of Engineers - Savannah District – Mar 18, 2019


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Comparing the two Fish Passage alternatives


The Star, North Augusta - Lindsey Hodges Mar 13, 2019

Aiken Legislative Delegation takes action regarding Lock and Dam

"Just before midnight Tuesday night, the Aiken Legislative Delegation took a step forward in the fight to keep the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.

The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a budget proviso that would prohibit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control using funds “to approve the licensing, permitting, authorization or certification related to the new Savannah River Bluff Lock & Dam so as to maintain the current water level,” according to an email from Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken.

Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, said the delegation is trying to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from tearing down or changing the Lock and Dam, saying North Augusta should remain 'South Carolina’s Riverfront, not South Carolina’s creek front.'..."


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Augusta Chronicle - Tom Corwin - Mar 13, 2019


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Near the 4th Street railroad bridge, the Savannah River before the drawdown, left, and after on Tuesday morning
February 12, 2019 in Augusta, GA
[Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle]

SC House amendment seeks to block Savannah River lowering

“South Carolina legislators are trying to use an amendment to a bill to block lowering the pool of water in the Savannah River through a proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan by keeping a key state agency from issuing a permit to the Corps.

The state’s governor and attorney general are also vowing to fight to keep the pool from being lowered, said Rep. William “Bill” Hixon, R-North Augusta. The South Carolina House of Representatives passed what is called a proviso to a bill that would essentially prevent S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control from issuing a permit to the Corps if it plans to carry through on a recommended plan to replace New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam with a rock weir fish passage that would leave the pool nearly two feet lower on average at the Fifth Street Bridge by downtown Augusta.

Hixon said he is confident the Senate will also pass it and Gov. Henry McMaster will sign it because he has already approved the language in the bill. “We figured if they can’t get a permit, (the Corps is) going to have to come back to us and try to work with us and try and make us happy,” Hixon said. It keeps the river as a source of recreation and for water supply for Augusta and North Augusta and industry, he said. …”


Augusta Chronicle - Tom Corwin - Mar 9, 2019

More ideas emerge about how to fix lock and dam

"... Augusta, North Augusta and Aiken and Columbia counties support repairing the lock and dam and putting in a fish passage on the Georgia side.
What ultimately emerges as a solution for fish migration and the need to preserve the pool of water in the Savannah River could be an adaption of either idea or something new altogether.
Homeowners at Goodale Landing are advocating for a fish lift and installing turbines in the dam portion to help pay for the upkeep of a refurbished lock and dam. ..."

"... The Goodale residents also propose repairing the lock and dam. Shafer said the dam just needs minor attention and that a portable fish lift could be attached to the front of the lock.
Though the lifts can vary in size, one Shafer has looked at is 16 feet wide, 8 feet deep and mounted on tracks attached to the bottom front of the lock. Using computers and cameras, along with an odor attractant for the sturgeon, the lift would be closed when enough fish have swum into it, then it would ride on the track up and over the lock to let the fish out. Though he has not researched the cost, it is likely far less than the $87 million the Corps estimates the weir and the lock and dam removal would cost, Shafer said.

“And now we think this is the perfect solution to this,” Shafer said. “Everybody gets to win.” ..."


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Tom Corwin


Augusta Chronicle - Tom Corwin - Mar 6, 2019


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Proposals, protests abound at Corps meeting on Lock and Dam

“Hundreds of riverside landowners and others interested higher levels in the Savannah River talked about modifying a a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to replace New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam during a public meeting Wednesday in Augusta.

Col. Daniel Hibner, commander of the Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was clear about what Wednesday’s public meeting on his agency’s recommendation for New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam was not going to be.

“We’re not here to defend the project,” he said. “We’re not here to debate the project.” Hundreds who packed a meeting room at the Augusta Marriott might have differed. …”


US News & World Report - March 3, 2019

Comment Period on Augusta Lock and Dam Plan Extended

"AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) — Those interested in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plan for the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam are getting more time to comment on the project ..."


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US Army Corps of Engineers - Savannah District – 2019 News Releases


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Including:

  • Corps of Engineers extends comment period on future of lock & dam, passing fish remains priority
  • Army Corps of Engineers announces to hold workshop on plans for the future of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam
  • Corps concludes simulation early, river in Augusta to resume normal levels by Sunday
  • Draft report on recommended plan for fish passage near Augusta, Georgia, released for public review

The August Chronicle - Sylvia Cooper - Feb 23, 2019

City Ink:
Allen wants residents to speak out about the river

"In many cases when people get mad at the federal government, they threaten to call their congressman. In the case of Augusta versus the U.S. Corps of Engineers, your congressman is telling you to call the government ..."


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Savannah Morning News -SavannahNow.com- Tom Corwin -Posted Feb 16, 2019


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Cost differences in options for lock and dam project questioned

"A draft report from the Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows a significantly higher price for its preferred alternative for New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam and the plan favored by local communities to save it and maintain a higher pool of water in the Savannah River. Local leaders are discussing ways they could pay for it if needed ..."


Name - February 12, 2019


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Savannah River level keeps dropping; people are not happy about it

"The Army Corps of Engineers is lowering the Savannah River levels a few feet. Once they reach the level they're looking for Wednesday they want to hear back from the community. Not many people are happy with the results right now. People are saying the ripple effects of lowering the water levels are already showing. The word thrown around the most is “ugly.” "This isn’t beautifying our riverfront at all,” Dean Durand said ..."


The August Chronicle - Susan McCord - Dec 31, 2018

Drawdown to lower Savannah River postponed

"Heavy rains have delayed a proposed Savannah River drawdown intended to simulate the effect of replacing the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam with a rock weir. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed the drawdown to show the impact on the river’s pool of the corps removing the 80-year-old lock and dam and replacing it with a rock weir and fish passage ..."


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Fox 54News - July 20, 2014


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Savannah River water levels low after Lock and Dam break

"If you've been out to the Savannah River lately you may have noticed water levels are a lot lower than usual. That's because the New Savannah Lock and Dam has been damaged. Robert Sheffer has lived on the river for nine years and says this is the lowest he's ever seen the water.

"We've been here since 2005, and this is about as low as I've seen the water levels since," he says. 

Water levels have dropped drastically over the past few days, and Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus says workers from the Corp of Engineers are investigating damage to the New Savannah Lock and Dam. ..."

 


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