NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – The fight to keep the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam is taking a step forward.
The Aiken Legislative Delegation drafted a proviso to keep the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. It would prohibit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control from using funds related to the Lock and Dam and current water levels. It’s an effort to keep North Augusta as South Carolina’s Riverfront City.
“We feel like we need to do something,” Representative Bill Hixon told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.
Representative Hixon is a part of the delegation. Along with State Senator Tom Young, the pair met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ and Governor McMaster on the issue.
“Governor McMaster looked at the pictures and looked at a letter that Governor Deal wrote. He looked at the Colonial with the Corps of Engineers and said we are not going to accept any less,” Representative Hixon recalled.
Hixon also held conference calls with staff members of both Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Joe Wilson’s offices. Augusta’s mayor Hardie Davis was also a part of the conversation.
“And I said do me a favor mayor I want you as the Mayor of Augusta and our Mayor Bob Pettit to work together like they’ve never worked together before,” Representative Hixon said.
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, removal of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam would benefit sturgeon by providing access to historic spawning areas. We’ve learned a study in the works may disprove that.
“You’re the first to know, I’m dealing with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. They were the ones that actually did the original study for the State of Georgia on the sturgeon they are looking at the process now on how well the sturgeon is doing. I’ve been told with the process like it is now with the lock and dam sitting like it is and the water levels and things like they are, the sturgeon are doing better than they ever done,” Representative Hixon stated.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended its comment period to April 16.