Corps not keeping lakes full

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I read with disbelief the recent press release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concerning its engineering decision to decrease release rates from Thurmond Dam. As an engineer, it was obvious to me that such a change should have been made nine months ago, not now. We even pleaded with the Corps to do so. Had it made this change then, the lakes would be full now.

The Corps claims it cannot change from the written drought plan. It has several responsibilities in controlling the basin – water quality and supply; fish and wildlife; recreation, flood control and navigation. It also is responsible for power, but that is simply an economic concern and automatically washes out when you look at the economics of lake levels vs. the cost of buying power off the grid.

If any of these other than recreation were involved, the Corps would make an immediate change based on the best information available. But the destruction of recreation – which occurs by their own admission when the lakes drop six feet – is ignored. The change we recommend would prevent destroying recreation and not harm the other concerns.

Just ask the Corps what stakeholder (business, water supplier, etc.) downstream of Thurmond Dam is asking for more water. All the stakeholders around the lake are screaming for their fair share of the water. The reason the lakes are draining is that the Corps insists on sending downstream more water than nature provides in rain.

Jerry Clontz

McCormick, S.C.

(The writer is a spokesman for the group Save Our Lakes.)

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Chillen
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Chillen 10/19/11 - 09:09 am
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Look at Lake Oconee. Always

Look at Lake Oconee. Always full to the top. Not managed by the Corps. Enough said.

omnomnom
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omnomnom 10/19/11 - 12:40 pm
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recreation happens on both

recreation happens on both sides of the dam jer-bear!

Riverman1
110714
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Riverman1 10/19/11 - 12:57 pm
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Omnomnom is right. I live on

Omnomnom is right. I live on the river and am affected when releases from the damn are too low. For everyone at the lake affected there are more on the river affected, including the city of Savannah with salt water intrusion.

Riverman1
110714
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Riverman1 10/19/11 - 05:54 pm
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The problem is the major

The problem is the major drought for the last several years, nothing more. We have to maintain adequate flows in the river. I have explained many times, the ONLY time you can decrease flow is when it is raining copiously between Thurmond Dam and Stevens Creek Dam. If you decrease outflow for rain say south of Augusta, you dry up the river north of it. Understand? The river is a living and dynamic resource with dependent wetlands all along its course in addition to the aquatic life of all kinds.

yu nah ee tah
31
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yu nah ee tah 10/20/11 - 05:39 am
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When Agidoda Agasga gives us

When Agidoda Agasga gives us rain, we must be good stewards with that blessing. Now the lake is down and that too must be looked at as a gift, now would be the time to put out brush for the fish. Tie trees to the stumps that are exposed. Look for a rocky bottom where the hydrilla has not taken over. The stumps are fifty years old and easier than carrying concrete blocks. There are 10 foot tall trees between 328 and 330 that have been in water once in the last ten years. When the lake does come up, they will die. Do not cut all of them, just thin them so the rest will thrive.

JakeQ
99
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JakeQ 10/20/11 - 09:53 am
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Chillen, Lake Oconee is a

Chillen, Lake Oconee is a run-of-the river pumpback lake, like Richard B Russell, which only fluctuates a couple of feet, and most power lakes don't have a flood protection component, so you'd expect them to be run differently.

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