Corps tests gates at Hartwell, Thurmond dams

The Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted limited engineering and operations tests on spillway gates at Hartwell and J. Strom Thurmond dams, Aug. 25 and 26, respectively.

Beth Williams, project engineer for the tests, said the routine tests are required to ensure the gates are in proper working order, but also provide an opportunity to train and familiarize operations staff with operating procedures.

Unlike previous tests conducted at full pool, the test at Hartwell Dam only involved a few gates, and only four of the 23 gates were tested at Thurmond Dam. These atypical tests help conserve water in the reservoirs while still meeting minimum requirements.

While giving the appearance of a large release, the amount of water discharged only equals an additional 50 cubic feet per second (cfs) spread over a 24-hour period at each reservoir. Recent daily releases have been between 3,800 cfs to 7,800 cfs.

Williams said district water managers estimate the reservoir levels will only decline 23-thousandths of an inch or less because of the limited amount of time the gates were open.

Changes of 23-thousandths of an inch (0.023 inch), equate to less than the thickness of six sheets of paper.

Williams and her team estimated these measurements based on water release calculations; the change in water level is so minute it is immeasurable using physical instruments.

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A wreck reborn: Recovering the Civil War ironclad CSS Georgia from the Savannah River

The CSS Georgia continues to surprise archaeologists. Case in point, this 9,000-pound Dahlgren rifled cannon that archaeologists thought was a different type of cannon before raising it to the surface July 21. Photo by Michael Jordan, Cosmos Mariner Productions.

The CSS Georgia continues to surprise archaeologists. Case in point, this 9,000-pound Dahlgren rifled cannon that archaeologists thought was a different type of cannon before raising it to the surface July 21. Photo by Michael Jordan, Cosmos Mariner Productions.

(Editor’s Note: The following post is a wrap-up of the efforts to raise the CSS Georgia from January to August 2015.)

As cities along the East Coast scramble to bolster their infrastructure and employ massive dredges to deepen their harbors, Savannah began its harbor expansion with a team of 10 people who used wire baskets to raise a handful of objects at a time. Continue reading

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What to expect with this year’s winter drawdown and refill

If we were to use the current conditions of the Savannah River Basin as indicators, it would seem reasonable to conclude we are facing imminent drought. Continue reading

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July rainfall: Average is a relative term

If we’ve learned one thing about rainfall at the sub-basins in 2015, it’s that it is anything but average. Continue reading

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Savannah River islands attract a different type of tourist

Ellie Covington, a biologist with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, and Sandy Beasley, a volunteer with U.S. Fish & Wildlife, count birds at Tybee Island, June 30. Savannah District biologists like Covington visit the island three times a month to monitor the number of birds following Tybee Island’s beach renournishment in December 2014.

Ellie Covington, a biologist with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, and Sandy Beasley, a volunteer with U.S. Fish & Wildlife, count birds at Tybee Island, June 30. Savannah District biologists like Covington visit the island three times a month to monitor the number of birds following Tybee Island’s beach renournishment in December 2014.

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Threatened by development and predators from every side, local birds here are finding safe, pristine habitats in an unlikely place: at the bottom of the Savannah River.

As part of environmental mitigation for the Savannah Harbor Navigation Project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District uses sediment dredged from the river to create islands along Savannah’s Back River.

The islands – four elliptical sand-covered strands ranging from four to eight acres each – are nestled within dredged material containment areas, or DMCAs, and designed to encourage threatened species of birds to nest and proliferate. Continue reading

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Video: Navy divers recover first of 4 remaining cannons

From left: Navy Diver 1st Class Spencer Puett of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 and Lt.j.g. Andrew Heckel of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6, pose behind the cannon they rigged for recovery. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason Potts

From left: Navy Diver 1st Class Spencer Puett of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 and Lt.j.g. Andrew Heckel of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6, pose behind the cannon they rigged for recovery. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason Potts

Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6 raised the first of four remaining cannons from the CSS Georgia, July 15. (Click here to watch the three-minute video.)

This marked the first day the cannon, a “six-pounder,” which weighs nearly 1,000 pounds, has been above the river’s surface since the vessel was scuttled in 1864. The term six-pounder refers to the weight of the cannonball fired from the weapon.

Divers expect to begin recovery of the remaining three cannons this week and will continue to raise assorted machinery and sections of the armored “casemate” throughout the summer.

The overall recovery of the ironclad is the first phase in the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, or SHEP, which will deepen the river from 42 to 47 feet, extend its length by seven miles, widen three bends and add two meeting areas to better accommodate larger ships.

This video was produced and edited by Jeremy S. Buddemeier, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District. Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse A. Hyatt contributed reporting.

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Boys’ lives saved by rescuers, loaner life jackets at Hartwell Lake

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The collaborative efforts of a Hartwell Lake corps ranger and bystander saved two boys’ lives after the pair struggled to swim from a remote buoy to the beach shoreline June 3. Continue reading

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Reservoirs return to their routines as summer arrives

The erratic spring cycle of high highs and low lows appears to have leveled off in June, as each of the sub-basins arrived much closer to its 67-year average for the first month of summer. Continue reading

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Divers continue to unveil ‘little shards of life’ from CSS Georgia

Parker Brooks examines an elevator screw (right) and firing mechanism from a cannon. The elevator screw was used to change the height of the cannon. Photo by Chelsea G. Smith, USACE Savannah District

Parker Brooks examines an elevator screw (right, background) and firing mechanism from a cannon. The elevator screw was used to change the height of the cannon. Photo by Chelsea G. Smith, USACE Savannah District

Last week marine archaeologists diving on the CSS Georgia entered their fifth and final month of the small artifact recovery phase. And though the number of artifacts they have been discovering has slowed to a trickle, the nuance each new item adds to the growing narrative cannot be understated. Continue reading

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Lakes prepare for busy summer

rangerpicAs the temperatures rise and summer shifts into full gear, the recreation areas along the Savannah River Basin are, too. Continue reading

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