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

 

About US Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District oversees a multimillion 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 Facebook.com/SavannahCorps
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