Water Management website & mobile app restored

We are pleased to announce that our water management website (water.sas.usace.army.mil) and our mobile app are now restored back to their fully functional capacity. On Aug. 8 multiple hardware failures prevented the website’s database from transmitting updates to the site and the mobile app. The issue has been resolved and both the website and the mobile app have been updated with all current information and are performing as intended. Thanks for your patience as we worked through this issue.

 

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Why is there so much fluctuation between the Thurmond & Stevens Creek dams?

Earlier this summer we asked readers what topics they want to read about on Balancing the Basin. Here’s one of many questions we received:

“Why there is so much fluctuation of river levels between Thurmond dam and Stevens Creek dam?”

The simple answer is because outflows differ during “peak demand” times for hydropower. Here’s a brief explanation:

The Stevens Creek Dam is located about 13 miles downstream of the J. Strom Thurmond Dam and about 8 miles north of the city of Augusta, Georgia. It is owned and operated by South Carolina Electricity and Gas (SCEG). The impoundment area spans a 12-mile stretch along the Savannah River and an 8-mile stretch of Stevens Creek, totaling approximately 2,400 acres.

An aerial view of the Stevens Creek Hydroelectric Facility. Source: SCEG website.

An aerial view of the Stevens Creek Hydroelectric Facility. Source: SCEG website.

The river levels between the Thurmond Dam and Stevens Creek Dam experience normal daily fluctuations ranging from three to five feet. The fluctuations are caused by “peaking” operation at the Thurmond Dam. Peaking power is produced during periods of the day when demand for electricity is highest—generally in the afternoon and early evening.

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Corps alerts lakeside property owners of impacts, consequences of cutting trees on public lands

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hartwell Lake Office is investigating and pursuing restitution for seven cases of major destruction to public lands surrounding Hartwell Lake. The destruction cases represent an unprecedented increase in property owners illegally removing trees and vegetation along the lake’s shoreline, according to Sandy Campbell, Hartwell natural resource program manager.

Consequences for destruction of public lands at Hartwell Lake may include fines, court appearances, and in some instances, revocation of shoreline use permits for private boat docks and other permitted structures and activities. The severity and reoccurrence of destruction on public lands dictates the severity of the consequences.

“With increases in lakefront property sales over the last year, some people attempt to ‘stage’ their property for sale by clearing trees on public land to improve their view of the lake,” Campbell said. “Doing so is not only violation of the Shoreline Management Plan and permit conditions, but it also has an environmental effect, impacting many facets of the reservoir.”

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Hardware failures affect updates on Website, Mobile App

Many of you have noticed our Water Managers Page hasn’t refreshed with updated data since Aug. 8, (Friday). Hardware failures on multiple backend database servers have prevented data transmission to the publically accessible website.

Our new mobile app is impacted since it depends on the database to provide real-time information. Once the database is back online the mobile app, along with the website, will fully function again.

When we first identified the issue we didn’t expect the repair to require this much time. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and apologize for the inconvenience.

In the meantime we will post daily reservoir levels to our social media sites, Facebook and Twitter.

Current Reservoir levels are:
Thurmond - 327.6 feet above mean sea level (ft-msl)
R. B. Russell - 474.5 ft-msl
Hartwell - 657.5 ft-msl

Best Regards,
Russell Wicke
Chief, Corporate Communications Office

 

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Corps, SC biologists track sturgeon in Savannah River

Mitigation Logo PreConstuctionMonitoring2-01Editors Note: This is the second 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. Subsequent articles will discuss specific features of the pre-construction environmental monitoring.
 

 SAVANNAH, Ga. – While most people may never see a shortnose or Atlantic sturgeon swimming through the Savannah River, a team of researchers is getting up-close-and-personal with these elusive, endangered species.

Thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR), researchers are safely catching sturgeon, inserting sonic transmitters inside them, and releasing them back into the river.

The fish-safe technology allows scientists to monitor and record the sturgeon’s movements using an array of fixed receivers installed along the river.

“Our cooperative agreement with the SC DNR allows us to capitalize on their previous and ongoing research, giving us a better understanding of sturgeon distribution and migration patterns in strategic locations throughout the river,” said William Bailey, planning division chief at the Corps’ Savannah District.

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New Mobile App! Lake information now in your pocket

ScreenshotSearch no further than your pocket (or purse) to access real-time data on reservoir levels, rainfall, outflows, forecasts and other useful information on our lake projects and the Savannah River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District announces the launch of a new mobile app, now available for free download via the iTunes App Store, Google Play and the Amazon app store. To download, simply search for “USACE Savannah” from the app store compatible with your mobile device.

The app is also available online via a desktop version at http://usacesavannah.mobapp.at

We designed the app to provide the most in-demand information on lakes Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond, as well as river conditions downstream. We made conscious efforts to develop an application that was easy to use from any mobile device, making desired content no more than two clicks away. The idea is to provide quick and convenient access from any location; whether on a boat, camp site or in a restaurant.

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July rainfall above average at Russell; below average at Hartwell and Thurmond

Observed rainfall totals for July ranked above-average at the Russell sub-basin and below average at the Hartwell and Thurmond sub-basins.

The Russell sub-basin received 106 percent of normal rainfall for the month recording 4.7 inches. The average July rainfall at Russell is 4.3 inches.

RainfallBarGrapJuly2014

The Thurmond sub-basin received 74 percent of normal rainfall for the month. Thurmond rainfall measured 3.2 inches, falling short of the July average of 4.3 inches.

The Hartwell sub-basin received 64.1 percent of normal rainfall, recording 3.4 inches. The July average at Hartwell is 5.2 inches.

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Update on New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam

We recently asked readers what topics they would like to read about on Balancing the Basin, and someone asked us for an update on the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. Here’s the comment we received:

“I would like to know the Corps’ views on the future of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. Now that the lock has been declared unsafe, will the dam be the next to go? Also, I am curious about the fish passage planned to bypass the lock and dam. It seems to me that the fish passage idea is based on sketchy science. Am I wrong? Thanks. I appreciate your excellent communications work.”

First, to address the lock and dam closure: We closed the lock on May 15 due to public safety concerns from deterioration under the riverside lock wall. The dam portion and associated gates remain operable. While we do not expect a collapse of the lock wall, there are concerns with the lock wall foundation that exceed prudent safety levels. Visitors can still access the landside of the lock for fishing. You can read more about the lock and dam closure in our May 8 blog post here: http://1.usa.gov/1yLkgG8

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Environmental monitoring underway for Savannah harbor deepening

Mitigation Logo PreConstuctionMonitoring2-01Editors Note: This is the first in a series of articles to explain environmental monitoring efforts associated with the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. This series will focus on the various monitoring activities that must take place before construction begins. Subsequent articles will discuss specific features of the pre-construction environmental monitoring.

 

With the signing of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 earlier this year, many people expected construction of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) to start immediately. However, several actions need to take place before construction can occur.

“Environmental monitoring ranks high in the hierarchy of actions that must take place before construction begins,” according to Jason O’Kane, senior project manager for the SHEP with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District. “Some of the pre-construction environmental monitoring takes a year or longer to accomplish before we can begin any work.”

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Russell Lake: Generating power while protecting other reservoirs’ levels

Earlier we asked readers to pose questions they would like us to address in Balancing the Basin. One reader asked why Richard B. Russell Lake varies little in its level and if it could be used to protect the levels of the other two reservoirs. We get this question from time-to-time, especially during a drought when the levels of Hartwell Lake and Thurmond Lake decline.

The short answer to these questions: Planners designed Russell Lake to operate within a limited range, and that range was defined by Congress as our conservation storage allotment. Allowing it drop more than 5 feet below full pool can impact the efficiency of the turbines, but it also violates operating parameters that can only be chanced by congressional authorization.

The longer explanation: All three reservoirs have multiple purposes – hydropower production, downstream navigation, water supply, water quality, recreation, and fish and wildlife management. Hartwell and Thurmond have another, vital, purpose of flood risk reduction (originally called ‘flood control) that Russell Lake does not have. Instead, hydropower production sits at the top of the mission list for Russell Lake.

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