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.
The Corps will hold the open house at The Boathouse, 101 Riverfront Drive, in Augusta. Doors open at 4 p.m. for the three-hour come-&-go event. The public may arrive at any time to view the displays and ask questions to officials, engineers and fish biologists. Officials will also give a presentation at 4:30 p.m. and again at 6 p.m.
The workshop will provide the public an opportunity to learn more about the proposed alternatives the Corps is studying under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016 to provide a means for certain endangered fish to move upstream of the lock and dam to traditional spawning grounds. The endangered fish include shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon. The spawning grounds have been inaccessible to them since the construction of the structure in the 1930s. The Corps has studied multiple alternatives since January 2016 and their impacts on the environment and economics of the area. Reopening the spawning grounds is a mitigation requirement of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.
The open house will help the public understand the Corps’ overall purpose for the analyses – to find and recommend the most cost-effective fish passage alternative as required by the WIIN Act. Experts at the meeting will also describe to the public each of the final alternative concepts currently under analysis before the Corps submits a recommended plan for public comment.
“We will explain the Corps’ post-authorization analysis process and provide the public an update on our upcoming report and a timeline,” Russell Wicke, Corporate Communications Officer for the Savannah District, said. “We will talk about the actions we’ve already taken, especially about the consideration we gave to stakeholders and the public over the future of the lock and dam.”
Project managers, planners and various engineers will represent the Corps and will answer questions on various aspects of the alternatives under consideration. Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service will also be present for questions concerning impacts to endangered fish species in the area. No decision has yet been reached on the recommended alternative.