Looking back is looking up

The months of May, November and December were clear standouts in 2018.

After toiling diligently for the past two plus years, it seems the Savannah River Basin has finally freed itself from the drought that began in 2016. Continue reading

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Fixed weir pool simulation delayed due to excessive precipitation

Due to conditions from heavy November and December rainfall we must delay the pool simulation of the recommended fixed crest weir at the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam site, originally scheduled to begin Jan. 5.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials in the Savannah District now expect to conduct the simulation in early February if runoff rates return to acceptable levels by the end of January. Continue reading

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It’s beginning to look a lot like … 2015

Hartwell Dam during a spillway release Jan. 24, 2016.

If you’ve been following the weather lately (or in practical terms, have begrudgingly just stopped putting away your umbrella), you’ve noticed the uptick in precipitation in the past two months.

While the rainy season for the Savannah River Basin is technically a few months away, as the fall arrives and plunges into winter, the average monthly rainfall steadily increases in its march toward … March, the basin’s wettest month. Continue reading

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Permission granted: How the Corps governs federal waterways

By Tunis McElwain
Savannah District Regulatory Chief

A dock in a river requires permission from the federal government. Private-, public-, government-owned; all docks – and any other kind of work or construction in federal navigable waterways, must have a Department of Army permit granting permission for construction and existence – in perpetuity. Continue reading

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Fish passage weir with floodplain bench to replace lock and dam

Today we announced at a public meeting in North Augusta, South Carolina, the District’s recommended plan for replacing the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam with a fixed weir that can pass fish.

Out of seven possible alternative plans that were revealed in June, the recommended plan is the Higher Fixed Weir with Dry Floodplain Bench, known for short as Alt 2-6d. The construction cost for this plan is estimated at $68.9 million. Continue reading

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Leaning into fall

Despite having two hurricanes slash across the Southeast in as many months, the Savannah River Basin managed to collect only modest amounts of rain in September and October. Continue reading

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Corps of Engineers to reveal recommended fish passage alternative for lock & dam

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. Continue reading

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When does the federal government get involved in water resources issues?

By Steve Fischer
Chief of Planning Branch

It may strike some as an oddity that the U.S. Army is charged with riverine projects.

National civil works is a primary mission of the Army’s Corps of Engineers, but there are qualifications. Continue reading

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Savannah District Commander: Our system is a magnificent design

By Col. Daniel Hibner, Savannah District Commander

We are always grateful for an opportunity to explain how we operate the dams and reservoirs on the Savannah River. The Augusta Chronicle editorial staff has given us one such opportunity based on their Sept. 13 article in their explanation of why we don’t pre-release water from Thurmond Dam in anticipation of Hurricane Florence.

They are correct to report we do not make pre-releases in response to forecasted weather. Part of the reason for this is the lack of precision in weather forecasts.  So our engineers incorporated the unreliability of forecasts into the design of the Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond dams and reservoirs. Continue reading

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On rainfall and reservoirs re: Hurricane Florence

A photo of the eye of Hurricane Florence taken from space by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst.

(Editor’s Note: We have received several calls from media and concerned citizens related to our operations and posture as Hurricane Florence makes her way toward the East Coast. Below is a consolidation of our responses to these questions as of Sept. 12.)

The Savannah District remains at normal operations. This includes the District’s three hydropower dams and their associated reservoirs.

We have no plans at this time for any pre-releases of water from the reservoirs. The Corps bases its releases on current conditions, not on predictions that may or may not happen. Continue reading

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