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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to announce plan for Lock and Dam alternative

November 14, 2018

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will announce its plan for the solution to the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam on Wednesday at the North Augusta Municipal Building.

In June, the Savannah Division of the Corps of Engineers presented five alternative plans that each conformed to the Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation Act and the Endangered Species Act.

One alternative was to retain the current dam and allow fish to pass on the Georgia side. The other four options include a rock weir, which would slow water flow and limit erosion.

During the meeting in June, Laurie Satter, senior project manager for the Corps of Engineers, said the WIIN Act would require a solution that allows in-channel fish passage, reauthorizes the current lock and dam, and preserves the upstream pool. The endangered fish in question are short nose and Atlantic sturgeon.

“The spawning grounds have been unavailable to them since the construction of the structure in the 1930s,” according to a news release from the Corps of Engineers.

North Augusta leaders have expressed concern over the Lock and Dam, and whether the current pool depth will be maintained.

“My main thing is I don’t want to see the water level drop at all; I’d like to keep the same water level,” said Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, at an event in October.

At the same event, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster responded to concerns about the Lock and Dam.

“We want to keep the river at its current height,” McMaster said. “We don’t want to lower that because the infrastructure and homes and businesses and everything else along the river have been built there with the understanding that that is the height of the river, so we don’t want to lose that. That would be a big mistake.”

The presentation will be Wednesday on the third floor of the North Augusta Municipal Building. Doors will open at 4 p.m. The presentation starts at 4:30 p.m. and presenters will take questions until 6 p.m.

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