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The future of the lock and dam: Can the Corps of Engineers keep the people and the fish happy?

NORTH AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced its new project, "The Fish Passage Plan." 

The new plan will consist of a fixed weir to help fish make it to traditional spawning grounds between the Savannah Bluff Lock and the Thurmond Dam.

"We are not supposed to have a negative impact on endangered species," explained Russell Wicke.

The Corps of Engineers is working to save the fish in the Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.

"Congress came down and told us we needed the Atlantic Sturgeon and the Shortnose Sturgeon swim beyond the lock and down," said Wicke. "From where it sits now, to its respawning ground.

Wicke says the plan is to demolish the current lock and dam and build a passage so fish can get through. 

"One way to solve that is to allow them further upstream beyond on the lock and dam," explained Wicke. "Right now they can't do that because the lock and dam are blocking them."

In January the Corps will lower the water levels to show the public what the plan will look like.

North Augusta's former public safety director was at Wednesdays' meeting. 

"As they lower the water, they are going to have even more hazard," Lee Wetherington. "With that wall being that shallow, that was my concern. Is there anything in the plan that's going to identify that wall so no one will get hurt on it?"

The spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says a report will be ready for the public to review in February. 

They will have a 30 day period to consume that and give us some comments, express some of their concerns," explained Wicke. "Then we will have a period to address some those comments."

 


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