Commander welcomes Army’s Civil Works Secretary to Augusta

After landing The Hon. R. D. James (right), assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, is escorted off the flightline by Col. Daniel Hibner, Savannah District commander (center-left), Erik Blechinger (left), Savannah District deputy district engineer, and Alvin Lee, South Atlantic Division programs director.

Tuesday we were honored to welcome the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, The Honorable R. D. James to Augusta, Georgia, who visited to learn the details surrounding the future Fish Passage at the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.

We spent the first part of the morning in a discussion about the history of the lock and dam, including past and current legislation. We also discussed the draft report, the four alternatives and data gathered during the Alt 2-6d simulation in February.

Col. Daniel Hibner, (left) shows The Hon. R. D. James, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, images from the Alt 2-6d simulation.

Much of the discussion centered on the three primary constraints that make the project such a challenge: fish passage efficiency, federal funding cap and timeline to construction.

Following this discussion, we escorted James to the lock and dam and walked through the old structure.

The Hon. R. D. James (right), assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, walks with Erik Blechinger, Savannah District deputy district engineer, at the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, April 16.

After the lock and dam visit the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade out of Savannah, Georgia, supported us with a UH-60 Black Hawk as we gave James an aerial tour covering the entire stretch of the river from the lock and dam, through downtown Augusta, to Thurmond Dam.

April Patterson, Savannah District Fish Passage senior project manager, sits next to The Hon. R. D. James, (right) assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter April 16, before takeoff. During the aerial tour of the Savannah River through Augusta, Patterson and others from the Savannah District described significant areas of the project to James.

A view from the aerial tour April 16, showing the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam from the South Carolina side. The tour was given by the Corps’ Savannah District to The Hon. R. D. James, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.

This image, also taken on the aerial tour April 16 during normal pool levels, shows the shallow portion of the South Carolina bank of the Savannah River behind the training wall in North Augusta.

The Hon. R. D. James, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, helps April Patterson, Savannah District senior project manager for the Fish Passage, exit the UH-60 Black Hawk after the aerial tour of the Savannah River in the Augusta area April 16.

The Hon. R. D. James (right), assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, grins for the camera with Erik Blechinger, Savannah District deputy district engineer, April 16, in front of the UH-60 Black Hawk used for his aerial tour of the Savannah River below Thurmond Dam.

James and his staff were inquisitive and invested their undivided attention in order to fully understand the broader scope of the project, its challenges and nuances.

At the end of the tour he thanked us and gave guidance to continue following the process and to keep him informed following the public comment period, which ended later that afternoon.

The Hon. R. D. James (left), assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, thanks Beth Williams, Savannah District chief of hydrology and hydraulics branch, by giving her his signature coin for her work on the Fish Passage.

James also awarded April Patterson, Savannah District Fish Passage senior project manager with his signature coin for her work on the Fish Passage project.

James and his staff were gracious guests and it was a pleasure to have had the opportunity to host them.

~Russell Wicke, Chief of Corporate Communications

 

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Winter’s momentum masks March’s mums

The Savannah River Basin has been posting some impressive stats in the past six months, but last month was not one of them. Continue reading

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More explanation on the illustration in the last post

Our last post included a graphic that attracted a number of comments, so this post is intended to further explain the illustration. Continue reading

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Alt 2-6d is not the only in-channel alternative

In our last post we disclosed the reasons why we eliminated Alternative 1-1 from further consideration. Cost was a big factor, but the main reason is the lower probability involved with Alt 1-1’s ability to pass fish.

Passing fish is the primary purpose of this fish-passage project, so we must succeed in that effort. And success in this case requires a full-river width in-channel fish passage. Continue reading

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Comparing the two Fish Passage alternatives

Since we announced the recommended plan of Alternative 2-6d that would replace the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam with a fixed weir, many in the Augusta area have expressed interest in a different alternative, namely Alternative 1-1. Continue reading

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Thurmond falls short; Hartwell picks up the tab

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Three sub-basins walk into a bar …  Continue reading

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Comment period on future of lock & dam extended, passing fish remains priority

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, added an additional 30 days to the comment period related to plans to pass fish upstream of the existing New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam near Augusta, Georgia.

The extension will end on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 4 p.m. Eastern time. The comment period began on Feb. 16.  Continue reading

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Lock & Dam workshop is March 6 at Augusta Marriott

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold an interactive workshop on the proposed future of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam from 4 to 6 p.m., March 6, at the Augusta Marriott (at the Convention Center), Two Tenth Street, in Augusta, Georgia. The event will be held in the Lamar Room. Continue reading

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Fish passage draft report released, public meeting is March 6

After a one-day delay, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, published today the Draft Integrated Post Authorization Analysis Report and Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA), Fish Passage at New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam (NSBLD), and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) to evaluate proposed changes to the Fish Passage feature of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). Continue reading

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Weir simulation reaches targeted depth in Augusta

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The Savannah River level in the Augusta area reached target elevation today as part of the simulation planned to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, as well as the public, to observe the summer conditions expected with the fish passage recommended plan, known as Alternative 2-6d. Continue reading

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