City’s Lock and Dam comments include whitewater study


These are the words Augusta will live by when it comes to Lock and Dam. The city’s comments opposing the Corps plan to replace Lock and Dam with smaller rock weir lowering river levels upstream. 

“We’ve made the case for 1-1, which is to repair the dam, building the fish passage on the Georgia side that would maintain the pool,” says Utilities Director Tom Wiedmeier. 

But some of the information included in the city’s comments surprized some commissioners.

“Part of the comments I didn’t understand submitted was the parts about the whitewater. I know that was part of the addendum. I’m not sure that was the time to submit that,” says Commissioner Brandon Garrett. 

There in the city’s comments for keeping the dam is the Mclaughlin whitewater study, outlining a 2000 foot white water course at Lock and Dam Park.

The Savannah Riverkeeper doesn’t support keeping the dam and she submitted her own comments but says including the white water study makes sense for the city, 

“I’m not surprised at all, in fact. It’s a really smart move to include the possibility of the economic driver this river really should be for our region,” says Bonitatabus.

But many believed saving the dam and protecting the pool and a whitewater park didn’t mix

“The idea that it’s whitewater or the pool was never a true statement to begin with,” said Bonitatibus 

“Really my reaction is why is this here? We can’t have a whitewater discussion until we make sure the pool is secure, because we can’t have white water without the pool,” says Commissioner Garrett. 

The McLaughlin firm did the whitewater study and assisted the city in preparing the comments for the corp of engineers along with Cranston Engineering.

Commissioners next week will be voting to add 100 thousand dollars to the lock and dam battle budget so both firms can continue to help the city make its case. 

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