Recovery of CSS Georgia remains in progress after 150 years in Savannah River

Jeffrey Pardee, Panamerican diver tender, examines diver James Duff’s equipment and topside air supply during an initial dive event Jan. 22, 2015, on the Savannah River near Old Fort Jackson. Duff, a Panamerican diver and maritime archaeologist, used a rope to connect sections of the CSS Georgia wreck site scuttled on the river floor.  A network of ropes connects wreck site artifacts and assists divers to navigate through the murky underwater floor of the Savannah River. CSS Georgia recovery is the first action begun under the construction phase of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Chelsea Smith.)

Jeffrey Pardee, Panamerican diver tender, examines diver James Duff’s equipment and topside air supply during an initial dive event Jan. 22, 2015, on the Savannah River near Old Fort Jackson. Duff, a Panamerican diver and maritime archaeologist, used a rope to connect sections of the CSS Georgia wreck site scuttled on the river floor. A network of ropes connects wreck site artifacts and assists divers to navigate through the murky underwater floor of the Savannah River. CSS Georgia recovery is the first action begun under the construction phase of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Chelsea Smith.)

Recovering the CSS Georgia ironclad scuttled on the Savannah River floor marks the beginning of the construction phase of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.

Col. Thomas Tickner, Savannah District commander, will host a kick-off event Jan. 29 at Old Fort Jackson in Savannah to commemorate the launch of SHEP’s construction phase. Continue reading

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Thurmond spillway gates receive a tune-up

Spillway gates at Thurmond sub-basin are currently undergoing repair on a number of areas where pitting has developed on the surface of the gates.

The gates are armored with industrial grade coating, which typically lasts 30 years, to protect them from the elements. Periodic maintenance prevents the pits from getting past the industrial coating into the gates, said Scott Hyatt, Thurmond Lake operations project manager. Continue reading

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Plant Vogtle water permit follows current basin water manual

Over the past several months the occasional fan of Balancing the Basin has voiced concern about the expansion of Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River. Most of the concern focused on the increased water needs (and impacts on reservoir levels) of the two new nuclear reactors currently under construction near Waynesboro, Georgia. Stakeholders can put away those worries because the Corps of Engineers has not been asked nor has any plans to change reservoir release rates to support the new reactors. Continue reading

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2014 rainfall just shy of average, December ranks above average

Observed rainfall in the upper basin recorded deficits in 2014 for all three sub-basins with Hartwell’s deficit being most pronounced. However, for most of the year lake levels remained at or above average, making for a near-optimal year in water-related recreation. Continue reading

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Hartwell, Thurmond Lake Offices accept Christmas trees for recycling

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hartwell and Thurmond Lake Project Offices will accept natural Christmas trees for recycling Dec. 26 through Feb. 15, 2015 at Hartwell and Dec. 20 through Jan. 8, 2015 at Thurmond. Continue reading

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SHEP and the Savannah River – a Wrap-up

Editor’s note: Beginning in July 2013 this blog has posted a series of stories on the environmental monitoring of the Savannah River as part of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The monitoring program continues and some will be expanded and continued into the future. This article encapsulates the information presented in this blog over the past 18 months.

Shown here is an aerial view of the Savannah River in Savannah, Georgia. As part of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading a robust environmental monitoring effort to ensure mitigation for the harbor deepening performs as intended. USACE photo by Billy Birdwell.

Shown here is an aerial view of the Savannah River in Savannah, Georgia. As part of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading a robust environmental monitoring effort to ensure mitigation for the harbor deepening performs as intended. USACE photo by Billy Birdwell.

Environmental stewardship remains a top focus of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Deepening the Savannah harbor will impact the ecosystem of the estuary and conditions in the river all the way to the base of the Thurmond Dam north of Augusta, Georgia. Continue reading

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Scientists monitor cadmium levels in bird species

Editors Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles to explain environmental monitoring efforts associated with the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). This series focuses on the various monitoring activities that must take place as construction begins.

A Savannah Sparrow captured by University of Georgia biologists conducting avian sampling Dec. 4 at Dredged Material Containment Area 14A.  The winter sampling consisted of drawing blood samples from target species and banding them for future sampling that will continue during construction and three years post-construction (Photo by Chelsea Smith).

A Savannah Sparrow captured by University of Georgia biologists conducting avian sampling Dec. 4. The winter sampling consisted of drawing blood samples and banding target species for future sampling that will continue during construction and three years post-construction (Photo by Chelsea Smith).

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Several large impoundments in South Carolina along the lower Savannah River provide habitats for thousands of birds who migrate to the area seasonally. These sites, also known as dredged material containment areas (DMCAs), attract a variety of migratory birds who feed on area fish, invertebrates and vegetation. Continue reading

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November rainfall near average for Corps reservoirs

During November, Thurmond sub-basin exceeded average rainfall, the Russell sub-basin got near-perfect average rainfall, and the Hartwell sub-basin received below-average rainfall. Continue reading

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Private reservoirs support Corps public ones

Editor’s note: This installment of a continuing series of articles explaining the operations of the Savannah River basin, looks at the support upstream, privately-owned reservoirs contribute to keeping the basin in balance. Savannah District officials often get asked why Lake Keowee, owned by Duke Energy, seems to remain full while the Corps’ reservoirs, particularly Hartwell Lake seems to drop. Read below on how the far-upper basin supports the central basin.

Georgia’s Tugaloo River and South Carolina’s Seneca River meet underneath the waters of Hartwell Lake to form the Savannah. Both rivers host privately-owned reservoirs used to produce electricity for the region. Those reservoirs also provide water for Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond lakes – and therefore the rest of the basin. Continue reading

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Updates on the Savannah River Basin Comprehensive and Flood Storage studies

Update on the Flood Storage Assessment
In October 2013 we announced an initiative to assess our flood storage capacity to test the possibility of reducing our current flood storage allotment. More specifically, the study will provide information that will better define the present need for flood storage in the basin. In the announcement we estimated the study would take approximately 12 months. Based on recent updates from the Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC), the organization conducting most of the study, the results will be delayed about six more months. Continue reading

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