New operating agreement advances collaborative management of SRB water resources

Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA), and Duke Energy signed a new operating agreement in Elberton, Georgia, Oct. 17 defining how water resources will be shared among the Duke Energy and Corps reservoirs in the Savannah River Basin. This operating agreement will increase drought tolerance within the watershed and promote conservation efforts. Continue reading

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Sophisticated network monitors Savannah River estuary

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

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Ensuring healthy water quality is an essential part of environmental monitoring for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is partnering with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor water quality in the estuary using a sophisticated network of continuous monitoring stations. Continue reading

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September rainfall ranks above average at Thurmond, Russell; below average at Hartwell

The final observed rainfall totals for September ranked above average at Thurmond and Russell sub basins, and below average at Hartwell sub basin.

Throughout September, the National Weather Service recorded rainfall on 24 days at Thurmond, 23 days at Hartwell, and 17 days at Russell. Continue reading

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Experts gather water quality data before beginning harbor deepening

Editors Note: This is the fourth 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 before construction begins.

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Scientists and technicians recently completed intensive water quality monitoring in the Savannah harbor and estuary in preparation for the upcoming deepening of the harbor and shipping channel. Continue reading

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Commander: Savannah River Basin enters first drought level

By COL Thomas Tickner
Savannah District Commander

This past weekend Thurmond Reservoir levels dipped below 326 feet above mean sea level, which is the marker for our first drought trigger. This level indicates the Savannah River Basin (SRB) is in mild drought.

Operationally, this means we will restrict release rates at Thurmond Dam to 4,200 cubic feet per second (cfs) until Hartwell and Thurmond reservoirs rise 2 feet above the trigger points for Drought Level 1. Continue reading

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For Thurmond Lake fish, D-O is a G-O

Recently we received this comment about dissolved oxygen and pumpback at the Russell Dam:

“As I recall, the Russell project was initially accompanied by much debate over water quality and fish. Has the addition of underwater oxygen injection resolved the DO [dissolved oxygen] issues for the fish? Does the hydropower generated by Russell cover the cost of this oxygenation? Also, at startup there were serious fish-kill issues on Russell’s pump-back and it was stopped for a good while. Since it has resumed, I assume that changes made to protect more of the fish population. Can you or a fish and wildlife person comment? Thanks!”

Indeed, fish habitat and water quality were major issues surrounding the construction and environmental testing of the Richard B. Russell Pumped Storage Project in the 1980s and 1990s. Here’s a general explanation why: Continue reading

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Video: Understanding Evaporation and Transpiration

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Cleanup campaigns going on now at Corps lake near you

Looking for an opportunity to roll up your sleeves and give back to the community? How about volunteering for a lake cleanup campaign at a Corps lake near you?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District seeks volunteers to pick up trash along the shorelines and islands at lakes Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond. Volunteers are also needed to participate in other cleanup/maintenance projects around the lakes. Continue reading

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Corps partners with Clemson University to monitor marshes for harbor deepening

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

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Thanks to a partnership with Clemson University and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, scientists are collecting valuable data in the Savannah River estuary for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).

The research is part of an extensive pre-construction monitoring plan to establish a baseline of environmental data in advance of the harbor deepening.

“Our partnership with Clemson University allows us to collect continuous data at key marsh sites in the estuary and sample wetland vegetation in those areas,” said William Bailey, chief of planning for the Corps’ Savannah District. “The data will be used to measure impacts from the harbor deepening, evaluate the performance of the mitigation features, and identify whether any additional actions are needed.”

Continue reading

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August rainfall ranks below average at Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond

The final observed rainfall totals for August ranked below average at the Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond sub basins.

The Hartwell sub basin had the highest amount of rainfall receiving 86.2 percent of normal rainfall accumulating 4.3 total inches, just under the August average of 5 inches.

Continue reading

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