Thurmond opens registration for National Public Lands Day

More than 300 people participated in last year’s National Public Lands Day. Don’t miss your chance to make a big difference in your community. RSVP by Sept. 12.

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Thurmond Lake is seeking individual and group volunteers for its annual cleanup campaign on National Public Lands Day, Sept. 29, 2018.

Volunteers will work on a variety of projects including debris cleanup, brush clearing, and trail and park maintenance along the shoreline, islands, recreation areas, coves, old road ends and bridge areas.

“Scouting groups, civic organizations, sports clubs, church groups, businesses, families and individuals can participate, Ken Boyd, chief of the Forest, Fish and Wildlife office at Thurmond Lake, said. “The event runs from 8 a.m. to noon with check-in at the Below Dam South Carolina Recreation Area.”

A picnic for volunteers follows the clean-up. Below Dam Recreation Area is at 384 Power Plant Road, Clarks Hill, South Carolina.

To participate, volunteers must complete and return a volunteer agreement available online. Participants volunteering as a group can download a group sign up form.

Completed forms can be dropped off or mailed to the Thurmond Project Office at 510 Clarks Hill Highway, Clarks Hill, SC 29821. Forms may also be faxed to 864-333-1150 or emailed to Participants must RSVP by Sept. 12.

“Volunteers should be mindful of safety hazards and risks while performing work,” Boyd said. A position hazard analysis is available for download.

All volunteers should wear closed-toed shoes, long pants (planned work could result in potential staining and damage to volunteer clothing) and bring plenty of water. Volunteers should plan to arrive a few minutes early for check-in and a safety talk.

Participants will receive free T-shirts and a one-day pass for free admission to any federal park site (while supplies last).

In the event of severe weather conditions, National Public Lands Day events will be cancelled. No rain date is scheduled.

National Public Lands Day is a nationwide day of service for volunteering at local, state and federal public lands. The cleanup is also part of Georgia’s statewide Rivers Alive program.

For more information, contact Ranger Ben Werner at 864-333-1131 or toll free at 800-533-3478, extension 1131.

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Getting by with a little help from last month

The chart shows hourly Doppler radar estimates of rainfall for the Hartwell sub-basin in May.

Still on the mend from a two-year drought, the Savannah River Basin came roaring back in May, only to sputter out as the summer officially arrived. Continue reading

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Common questions and answers from the Fish Passage Open House

Last week we met with the local community in and around Augusta, Georgia, in order to reveal the five alternative fish passage designs under consideration for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) Fish Passage feature at the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam site.

After giving the presentation to different groups we noted that during the Q&A session some of the subject matter was prone to misunderstanding and a few questions were frequently asked. Continue reading

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Timing is everything (except when it’s not)

A view of J. Strom Thurmond Dam while its gates are being repaired. Counting from the right, repairs on the first 6 gates have been completed. Photo: Scott Hyatt

Seepage is visible on the sides of the spillway. Photo: Scott Hyatt

It’s safe to say the last few months have been good to the basin in terms of rainfall.

In May, Hartwell and Thurmond blew their averages out of the water, receiving more than double their normal precipitation (9.6 and 7.4 inches versus their 4.5 and 3.6 inch averages, respectively).

So why, now that we’re at full pool after enduring one of the worst droughts in the basin’s history, did the Corps of Engineers decide to start a maintenance project on Thurmond’s gates, which requires keeping the pool at 329 feet above mean sea level?

And for that matter, weren’t the gates already fixed a few years ago? Continue reading

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Corps of Engineers to hold public open house on fish passage at lock and dam

Local residents will have an opportunity to learn more about the ongoing analysis of the fish passage construction at the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam on Tuesday, June 26 in Augusta, Georgia. The informational open house will be led by officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. Continue reading

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Hartwell Dam will test gates next week

Bottom line up front: The water released during this routine gate test will amount to a decrease in lake level by one-tenth of one inch, which is equivalent to the thickness of 25 sheets of paper.

SAVANNAH, Ga. – On June 19 the Corps of Engineers will conduct a required test of the spillway gates at Hartwell Dam on the upper Savannah River. Continue reading

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Savannah District to get a new commander Friday

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Col. Daniel H. Hibner will take command of the Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, from Col. Marvin L. Griffin, in a formal ceremony at 10 a.m., June 8.

Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ South Atlantic Division, will officiate at the formal change-of-command ceremony in the Oglethorpe Auditorium of the International Trade and Convention Center on Hutchinson Island.

Hibner comes to the Savannah District from U.S. Central Command Headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida. There he served as the Levant Branch Chief in the Plans and Policy Directorate working on issues covering portions of Syria and Iraq.
Continue reading

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Stay safe this weekend

Heading into the busy Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, would like to remind everyone to stay safe by wearing a life jacket whenever you’re in and around the water.

As part of National Safe Boating Week, boaters and those planning to enjoy the outdoors near water can take a quick, three-question quiz to determine the best life jacket options for themselves and their family members, including the four-legged ones.

Click here to take the quiz and be safe out there!

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New webpage on lock and dam fish passage now live

Nick Russ, a powerplant electrician for the U.S. Corps of Engineers Savannah District, assists in performing an inspection on one of the concrete piers of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. Photo by Scott Hyatt

Nick Ruff, a power plant electrician for the U.S. Corps of Engineers Savannah District, assists in performing an inspection on one of the concrete piers of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, May 14, 2014. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Scott Hyatt

If you’re interested in our plans for a fish passage near Augusta, Georgia, this post is for you.

We launched a webpage today on the future of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, and the process to get there. The page includes information on the status of the old lock and dam, its connection to the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, and its requirement to mitigate for endangered fish.

District engineers continue to work on a number of possible alternatives to meet the intent of Congress as expressed in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. The recommended alternative will enable endangered sturgeon to pass upstream and make provisions to secure the pool for recreation and water supply to industry. Continue reading

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April’s showers bring May’s … full pools

Reservoir levels for Hartwell May 2016-Present.

After a mediocre March, April’s showers emphatically raised the Savannah River Basin reservoirs back to full pool.

As of today, Hartwell and Thurmond are hovering at full pool, while Russell is less than half a foot below. The last time the reservoirs sat at full pool was almost exactly two years ago. (You can follow the abysmal journey on the graph above.) Continue reading

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