The Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam

The Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam / Army Corp of Engineers

After years of contentious debate, The Army Corp of Engineers has made their recommendation on how to replace an Augusta dam with something that will benefit an endangered fish.

The Corps of Engineers wants to replace the Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam with a pair of river width weirs that would allow the endangered shortnose sturgeon to reach spawning grounds it hasn’t used since 1937.

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The option the corps chose is described as 2-6d in their plans. It would drop the water level above the Savannah Bluff by as much two feet. Waterfront property owners do not like that. In fact, 48% if respondents to the survey issued by the corps said they didn’t want to lose the Savannah Lock and Dam at all. But making way for the sturgeon to spawn is required as a mitigation tradeoff for the deepening of the Savannah Harbor.

Just because the Army Corps of Engineers prefers option 2-6d that doesn’t guarantee the plan will win out. There is still time to negotiate, said Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus.

“That means real meaningful negotiations to ensure that there's something that we all can live with,” Bonitatibus said. “If not, then at least the fish are going to win.”

The next public hearing on the plan is on Nov. 13 at the Boathouse Community Center, 101 Riverfront Drive in Augusta, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.