Port authority re-elects leader

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Frank Carl, whose dual role as chairman of the Augusta Port Authority and executive director of a regional environmental group was questioned as a possible conflict of interest, will continue to wear both hats.

“The challenge went away,” said Dr. Carl, whose role with the nonprofit river protection group Savannah Riverkeeper Inc. was questioned in February by fellow authority member Wayne Hawkins.

Although the authority had been scheduled to elect a 2009 chairman during today's meeting, members canceled the election because Dr. Carl was the only nominee.

Dr. Carl said the city’s Law Department was asked to research the matter and found no conflict. Both groups, he said, encourage the appropriate use and conservation of the river and its ports.

In other business, the authority reported that the annual migration of American shad up the Savannah River is about midway through its spring cycle, and the Army Corps of Engineers has asked that the lock at New Savannah Bluff remain open for longer hours than usual.

The lock, whose gates can be kept open to allow migrating shad to swim upstream from the dam, has been kept open at two-hour intervals for about six weeks. The corps has asked that the cycles be expanded to four hours, and possibly overnight.

“They just want to let as many fish as possible get upstream,” said Chrislynne Kuhlke, a member of the authority’s facilities committee. City officials, she added, are looking into how best to fulfil the request.

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