For the past decade, boat access through New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam has been spotty at best, with various mechanical issues always seeming to keep the gates closed.
This spring, according to the Augusta Recreation, Parks and Facilities Department, a new lockmaster has been appointed to make sure boaters who want to be locked through can make arrangements to do so.
The new lockmaster, Russell Brunson, can be reached at (706) 799-7457 and can schedule appointments to arrange passage. The cost is $35 for each passage, and a 24-hour notice is required.
The lock, built 75 years ago by the Corps of Engineers as a means to stimulate commercial shipping, is usually opened frequently in early April to accommodate migrating American shad that swim up from the coast.
Future plans for the structure include the addition of a fish passage structure on the dam’s South Carolina side. The corps has proposed funding that $7 million project as part of its mitigation plan for the deepening of Savannah Harbor many miles downstream.
HUNTER SURVEY: Having bought a South Carolina hunting license for many years, I ended up on the list of randomly chosen sportsmen and women asked to participate in a survey commissioned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Responsive Management, a Virginia research firm specializing in surveys on recreation issues, asked all the usual questions about what you hunt, how often you hunt and what things make you want to buy a license.
They also asked, in cases where people might have opted not to renew their license, about the reasons why.
I reiterated my concerns about a state with such abundant resources, but with hunting rules in much of the state that allow unlimited harvest of young bucks year after year, with a season that runs from August to New Year’s Day.
I added my optimism that new rules now under debate will put an end to that practice, or at least take a step in the right direction.
Last fall, South Carolina’s Board of Natural Resources took a long overdue step in recommending – after eight years of study and debate – a five-buck statewide limit and a three-buck limit in selected game zones.
I am hoping the proposal will become law, and that hunters will see the benefits within just a few years.