SAVANNAH, Ga. – Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, are scheduled to give a public presentation announcing the recommended fish passage plan Nov. 14 in North Augusta, South Carolina.
In addition to announcing the recommended plan, officials will describe the selection process, provide the status of the analysis with its connection with the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, and discuss the expected impacts to the river.
The Corps will give the presentation at the North Augusta Municipal Building in the Council Chambers on the third floor, at 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, S.C. Doors open at 4 p.m. Officials will start the presentation at 4:30 p.m. and have time for questions until 6 p.m.
The presentation will provide the public information about the Corps’ recommended fish passage, how the alternative would impact the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, as well as projected impacts to the Savannah River upstream of the recommended fish passage.
The recommended alternative is among the final seven proposed alternatives and refinements that the Corps studied 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 unavailable to them since the construction of the structure in the 1930s. The Corps studied dozens of model scenarios and alternatives since January 2016 and their impacts on the environment and economics of the area.
The agency held a public open house in June showing the final seven alternatives and refinements under consideration. The fish passage is a mitigation requirement of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.
The presentation will help the public understand the Corps’ overall purpose for the analyses – to recommend the most feasible, environmentally acceptable, and cost-effective fish passage alternative as required by the WIIN Act. Experts at the meeting will describe the nationally-approved, federal process used for the fish passage analysis, and when the Corps intends to submit a formal recommended plan with a draft report for public comment.
Project managers, planners and engineers will represent the Corps and will answer questions on various aspects of the recommended plan and other alternatives.
Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service will answer questions concerning impacts to endangered fish species in the area.