Corps Seek Your ‘River’ Advice

WNRR Augusta – (USACE)

SAVANNAH, GA. Can the Corps of Engineers reduce the outflows from the J. Strom Thurmond Dam an additional 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) without a significant impact on the downstream environment? Savannah District officials seek comments to that question in an expedited draft environmental assessment they released today. The public comment period runs through Oct. 27.
Officials from the Georgia and South Carolina Departments of Natural Resources and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control requested a reduction in downstream outflows from Thurmond Dam from Nov. 1, 2008, through Feb. 28, 2009. Since October 2007, the Corps of Engineers has released only 3,600 cfs of water through the Thurmond Dam, the current minimum flow required by the two states. Officials seek public input on the impacts a further reduction to 3,100 cfs during the cooler winter months will have on the Savannah River below Thurmond.
Through this proposed reduction, officials hope to conserve more water in the Corps’ three reservoirs on the upper Savannah River – Lakes Hartwell, Russell, and Thurmond – while still meeting the needs of the downstream users and environment. The extended severe drought gripping the Southeast U.S. for the past 30 months has greatly depleted the usable water in the three reservoirs. The predicted continuation of the drought prompted state officials to request a further reduction of outflows during the winter through an expedited assessment.
The public may view the draft environmental assessment through the Savannah District homepage at www.sas.usace.army.mil or may obtain a copy by contacting William Bailey at 912-652-5781
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