Riverkeeper wants in on Lock and Dam suit for crest gates


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – For months the official city of Augusta position is what they call one dash one Repair Lock and Dam and don’t replace it, the Savannah Riverkeeper’s position is to take out the dam however the Riverkeeper is also willing to go to Federal Court over what the Corps of Engineers is planning.

The Savannah Riverkeeper wants in on the lawsuit challenging the Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam plan.

“Absolutely not, absolutely not, I think that again there’s a clear posture that the Riverkeeper has that’s not consistent with Georgia and South Carolina,” said Mayor Hardie Davis.

The Corps of Engineers is being sued because it wants to take out Lock and Dam and replace it with a rock weir.

The Riverkeeper supports the weir, so why the lawsuit?

Because the Riverkeeper opposes the corps plan because of the impact on the upstream pool, demonstrated by last year’s draw down.

So in it’s suit the Riverkeeper is proposing crest-gates on the weir that would increase levels up stream by about a foot over what the Corps is planning to do.

“We do have issues with the Corps plan we have the entire time we think there needs to be a compromise solution that meets the criteria of the fish passage and the upstream,” said Tonya Bonitatibus, the Savannah Riverkeeper.

Commissioners want the pool protected but feel keeping the dam and not crest gates is the way to go.

“I’m not willing to compromise on anything. Just like I told somebody earlier today when you bargain from a seat of weakness you’ve already lost the battle,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

The city is familiar with crest gates, comments on their advantages were part of comments the city submitted to the Corps last year, however other commissioners are also not prepared to join the Riverkeeper’s compromise effort.

“No not until we hear for a fact that the dam is not salvageable then we’ll look at other options but as far as we’re concerned saving Lock and Dam is the most important thing,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.

But it’s not only the Federal Court that could decide the future of Lock and Dam Congressman Rick Allen working on legislation that would fix up Lock and Dam and put in a fish passage, In Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6.

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