According to the group Save the Middle Savannah River the consensus plan would be cheaper then what the Corp is proposing, saves Lock and Dam Park, and most importantly best protects the city’s upstream pool.
It’s an idea supporters hope the Corp of Engineers bites on hook, line and sinker.
“I’m optimistic because the plan they put forward is actually something that is already in existence up in New York it’s been proven to work for the sturgeon it’s workable here so I believe we’re going to have good traction,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.
The Corp of Engineers preferred plan replaces Lock and Dam with a rock weir to allow endangered fish to get around, the Save the Middle Savannah River’s plan keeps the dam and installs a smaller fish passage on the South Carolina side.
“It would save the park for the city it would save the pool from destruction,” said Roy Simpkins of Save The Middle Savannah River.
“It’s not a bad plan it’s great looking it would be exciting but it doesn’t fall within the parameters of what this project must do,” said Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus.
And what the project must do is allow endangered fish to get around the Lock and Dam.
“I don’t see how you pass fish better through a smaller passage nor do I see how you get them back down again. this is a huge issue,” said Bonitatibus.
“Do you see the Corps changing horses in midstream here?”
“I don’t think it’s a change, I just think it’s a show of the continued conversation continued work towards finding a plan that works for everyone,” said Commissioner Garrett.
But the 60 day public comment period on Lock and dam ended five months ago today.
“With the people who have been behind this behind the scenes looking at this coming up with this plan I think the Corp would definitely take a look at it,” said Garrett.
“I don’t see us starting all the way back over is what this plan is asked to do,’’ said Bonitatibus.
Timing is critical work here is scheduled to begin in just 15 months, and according to the Corp of Engineers own timetable we are past due for the Corps final report on the future of Lock and Dam in Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel six.