Private land needed for New Savannah Bluff fish bypass

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:04 PM
Last updated 6:47 PM
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An expanded “fish passage” structure to move endangered sturgeon and other species around and past New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam will require additional land acquisition in South Carolina, but is not likely to offer additional public access.

A fish bypass, shown in this overlaid aerial photo, will be built at New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam to help migrating fish swim upstream. The larger design increased its cost from $7 million to a projected $32.2 million.  Special/Army Corps of Engineers
Special/Army Corps of Engineers
A fish bypass, shown in this overlaid aerial photo, will be built at New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam to help migrating fish swim upstream. The larger design increased its cost from $7 million to a projected $32.2 million.

“Some of the fish passage, as conceptualized, will be on land already owned by the federal government,” said Billy Birdwell, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers. “Federal property extends beyond the river banks a short distance.”

A fish passage structure designed several years ago, with an estimated cost of $7 million, was redesigned as a much larger project – now costing $32.2 million – and part of the mitigation plan for the corps $652 million project to deepen Savannah Harbor.

The bypass, for which construction funds could be available as early as 2013, will be built mostly on the South Carolina side of the river and is designed to allow upstream migration of both the shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon, along with other saltwater species – such as American shad and striped bass – that spawn in inland rivers.

Birdwell said early estimates indicate the structure will require five acres of federal land, an additional seven acres of private land at the construction site and six more acres of private land for an access road to support construction, operation and maintenance.

No fishing piers or other public-use amenities are planned.

“There are no plans to provide public access to the fish passage,” Birdwell said. “The federal government has not yet determined whether the fish passage will be closed by a buoy line to kayakers or left open, but recreation is not a purpose of this feature and therefore no federal funds can be expended to enhance recreation.”

Because its purpose is to provide passage for the fish, it would be counter to the environmental mitigation efforts to provide fishing access, he added.

Fish that can breach New Savannah Bluff would have access to about 20 additional miles of river – all the way from south Richmond County to the Augusta Diversion Dam at the canal headgates area.

The harbor’s mitigation plan also calls for payments totaling $3.3 million to Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources to help finance striped bass stocking and recovery efforts in the Savannah River.

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raul
4097
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raul 05/30/12 - 01:24 pm
3
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Uh, you think projects like

Uh, you think projects like this could wait until/if the economy gets better?

David Parker
7921
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David Parker 05/30/12 - 02:04 pm
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Dr Spence, who discovered the

Dr Spence, who discovered the sub in the Charleston port warned against spending too much money on raising the CSS Georgia . I believe the word he used to describe how the government went about that project was, "boondoggle". So now a seperate independent 7 million dollar fish-bypass plan is scrapped and lumped in with a 700 million dollar bigger plan that includes dredging the Savannah port and raising an antebellum warship. It's really reminding me of what Dr. Spence posted and how he foretold that the gov would get involvement and then certain projects would cost more than originally thought, maybe some get cut out altogether. I'm not sure how much it cost to create a bypass but give me 50 folks and alot of heavy equipment and i bet it gets done for less than 7 million. Since the job is part of the "master" plan now, who knows the cost.

Rob Pavey
533
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Rob Pavey 05/30/12 - 03:32 pm
4
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New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam......

If you remember, the corps didnt want a fish bypass - and in fact tried to demolish that dam a decade ago. It is still here because Augusta applied political pressure to keep the river dammed to preserve the downtown 'lake pool.'

athome
79
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athome 05/31/12 - 12:14 am
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Wasn't it actually Aiken

Wasn't it actually Aiken County & North Augusta along with industries along the river and SCE&G who successfully intervened with the Corps after the Augusta mayor at the time said Augusta wasn't interested? I hope to see it happen in my lifetime!!

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 08:52 am
4
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Augusta has been wishy washy

Augusta has been wishy washy on the matter of maintaining the dam and backpool of water. Mayor Deke said in 2008 he wouldn't be opposed to a study to see what would happen with removal of the dam.

On the other hand, North Augusta has established a fund with almost a million dollars to repair and take over the dam. Congress was supposed to allocate the federal funds for repair. It's been North Augusta leading the battle politically and practically to save the dam.

itsanotherday1
40064
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itsanotherday1 05/31/12 - 10:27 am
2
1
The river would be a complete

The river would be a complete eyesore without the "downtown pool", as was illustrated when they did the experimental draw down. All of that high dollar riverfront property on the SC side would take a horrendous hit if it reverts to the natural flow too, thus SC's interest in maintaining it as is. As someone said, just weld the gates into a fixed postion and let 'er rip. What is to maintain then?

As to the deepening project, am I missing something? Why in the H-E- double hockey sticks does it take 3/4 of a $BILLION$ to dredge it another few feet?? Does that include building a whole new terminal or something? They should to be able to dredge it all the way from Augusta to Savannah for that kind of dough. Something is fishy, and I don't mean the sturgeon bypass.

Tots
25738
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Tots 05/31/12 - 11:01 am
1
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Fish passage,

Hi itsanotherday@10:27am-you asked>>Why in the H-E- double hockey sticks does it take 3/4 of a $BILLION$ to dredge it another few feet?? Does that include building a whole new terminal or something? They should to be able to dredge it all the way from Augusta to Savannah for that kind of dough. Something is fishy, and I don't mean the sturgeon bypass.

My answer would be in the first two words in this articles headline>>Private land needed for New Savannah Bluff fish bypass.( Private land)..

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 11:43 am
1
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I have mixed feelings about

I have mixed feelings about the dam. If all the dams, including Thurmond are to be eliminated maybe we can realistically talk about eliminating this dam. But our system of dams has created shorelines over decades. It's possible with the elimination of all dams, the shoreline would not look as bad as we imagine over time and the river level would actually be higher. But THAT'S never going to happen.

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 11:45 am
0
1
Another question. Charleston

Another question. Charleston is going to be dredged at a huge cost, why does Savannah even need to be deeped to super ship depth? They are 100 miles apart. I seriously doubt not deepening Savannah would harm our state's economy with Charleston so close on the interstate.

David Parker
7921
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David Parker 05/31/12 - 01:21 pm
1
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The reason for dredging is

The reason for dredging is possible a wizzing contest. I mean, Charleston gets to 50 feet total depth for a reasonable 18 million. Savannah dredges to get to 47 feet and it costs 3/4 of a billion. The reason they are both doing it is due to the super Panama Canal upgrade. The canal will make Ga/SC ports available to the SUPER tankers that will be able to get through now. But yeah, a wizzing contest possibly.

Little Lamb
43818
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Little Lamb 05/31/12 - 03:47 pm
1
1
Mitigation

If the environmental whackos get hold of Charleston's bid to dredge, you can bet the $18 million estimate will jump up to rival Georgia's dredging estimate — much of which is environmental mitigation costs versus actual dredging costs.

itsanotherday1
40064
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itsanotherday1 05/31/12 - 04:59 pm
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Tots, the private land piece

Tots, the private land piece of it is part of the 32 mil bypass. The whole project is estimated at 700 mil.

burninater
8847
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burninater 05/31/12 - 05:03 pm
2
1
1/3 of the Savaanah dredging

1/3 of the Savannah dredging costs are for environmental mitigation -- whacko agenda-driven things like impacts to freshwater supply and the commercial and recreational fishing industries. People are so stupid to take things like that into consideration.

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