Corps gives update on water management website status

By Russell Wicke, Corporate Communications Officer

Contrary to our initial estimates, the water management page will remain unavailable for another few weeks, but we continue to make progress on the rebuild.

There are several contributing factors to the long delay.

The first relates to the original reason it was removed from the internet. One of our security systems identified an attempted cyber attack on our water management web server. This malicious activity resulted in multiple response actions by the Corps of Engineers with the intent to: Identify the scope of the attack, ensure it was an isolated event, and secure the web servers from additional attacks. These actions are what prompted our information technology department to remove the site from public access in order to conduct an in-depth inspection.

The effort to secure the web server from additional attacks includes numerous time-intensive actions. One of these actions is a complete and exhaustive review of all the code that makes the web server work. New code is then written to address any issues identified during the review. Testing the new code occurs at multiple intervals which also adds to the downtime of the web server. This was required not only to protect the water management site from malicious activity, but to protect all our other internet and intranet platforms that make up our digital network. Since the water management page hosted and processed more than 50 years of rainfall and basin data, this process took a considerable amount of time.

Once all the security actions were completed, we were directed to have the site retested by an external government agency. This process also involves numerous testing intervals. Right now we are making the final adjustments in response to the last test. We believe these final adjustments will bring the site up to Defense Department security standards.

Once live, we think you will find the new site more appealing and user-friendly than the old version. Getting information will be simplified and more intuitive in nature.

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress here on this blog.


About US Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District oversees a multi-million dollar military construction program at 11 Army and Air Force installations in Georgia and North Carolina. We also manage water resources across the Coastal Georgia region, including maintenance dredging of the Savannah and Brunswick harbors; operation of three hydroelectric dams and reservoirs along the upper Savannah River; and administration of an extensive stream and wetland permitting and mitigation program within the state of Georgia. Follow us on Twitter @SavannahCorps and on
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  • jimmy

    Thanks Russell. I wish you could have shared this with us earlier so that we didn’t have doubts about what was happening but I understand that this evoled into a bigger problem than first thought. Looking forward to seeing the new site so please keep us posted as you get closer to launching it.

    • You are correct Jimmy. It would have been ideal for us to get this information out sooner. We didn’t expect the site to be down more than a few weeks, and for a while we had expectations that its return to operation was imminent. Thanks for your understanding and patience. :) ~Russell

  • Charleton Bagwell

    Thank you for this information Mr. Wicke. And congratulations on running such a fine organization as the USACE. I have been using Hartwell Lake since 1963 and find that it, and Russell and Clarks Hill, is one of the best managed lakes I have visited.

    A couple of questions though. Why was Apple Island closed off? I knew Joe Banks, who farmed and lived on the land that the island is now, and my family was one of the first, if not the first, to camp on the island since it’s impoundment. We loved the island and was saddened by it’s closer.
    And question #2, all of the public ramps, that I know of, used to be free to launch a boat. Since the lake is public property why do we have to pay, again?

    • Thanks for your positive feedback Mr. Bagwell. Russell has passed your question on to me.

      Apple Island was part of a closure and consolidation plan (not just on Hartwell) for the Corps that was implemented in 1982. That is when Apple Island was partially closed and a short time later, the entire campground was closed. The boat ramp access remained open. The closure/consolidation plan was an effort to reduce operation and maintenance (O&M) expenses on Corps projects by either closing lesser used areas and/or consolidation by moving physical facilities (picnic tables, shelters, impact sights) to other areas, thus concentrating the use to more stratigic locations around the lake. As federal budgets remain tight, we are currently exploring other cost saving measures (including additional closures or leasing O&M to other government entities, adopt-a-park, use of volunteers, etc.). We are committed to providing continued excellent opportunities to the recreating public but must face fiscal reality while accomplishing this important part of our agencies mission.

      The user fees were authorized many years ago on a nationwide basis to further defray cost associated with O&M of recreation facilities. Taxes alone, which are used for development of federal agency budgets, do not cover all the expenses of operating our parks. Therefore, it was determined that user fees would be put in place for parks offering certain public use facilities. These user fees are returned to the U.S. Treasury, thus assisting with the budgeting process to keep these facilities open for all the public to use.
      I hope this helps answer your question.
      George Bramlette
      Hartwell Project Manager

      • Charleton Bagwell

        Thank you Mr. Bramlette for the info.

        Ah yes, the boat ramp. Jim Dunaway built a store across from the ramp and I seem to remember that he was the one that built the ramp too. He also installed about a 30-40 ft. long “dock”. Camped there too for many years.

      • jimmy

        Mr Bramlette, Thanks for the informtion but why don’t the fees go directly to supporting the lakes. Seems like in it’s current state it’s just another hidden tax that may or may not get back to improving the lake facilities it was intended for. Are there any stipulations that this tax go directly back to supporting the recreation facilities?

        • Hello Jimmy – this is Russell, answering on behalf of George. We have engineer regulations that stipulate the collection and depositing of camping and day-use fees into a special account in the U.S. Treasury. According to guidelines the fees “recover a portion of the cost of administering, operating, maintaining and
          improving recreation facilities, services or supplies,” but the funds do not necessarily come back directly to the park or project where collected. The decision to operate in this way is made above us; we are observing the law set by Congress in the process we follow. ~Russell