USA: Army Corps Completes Savannah River Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District has completed an Environmental Assessment to update water release guidance in the Savannah River Basin during periods of drought.

Col. Jeff M. Hall, commander of the Savannah District, approved and signed the Finding of No Significant Impact on July 30, after months of research and collaboration with state and federal natural resource agencies.

“Our assessment gave us the information we needed to reduce flows based on average inflows from the Broad River during the year while in different drought levels and set lower wintertime outflows,” Hall said. “These actions will allow us to improve water storage for the current and future droughts.”

The EA changed wintertime outflows from the reservoir system during Drought Levels 2 and 3. Under the EA, outflows from the J. Strom Thurmond Dam will be reduced to 3,600 cubic feet per second from Nov. 1 – Jan. 31 while in Drought Level 2; and 3,100 cfs from Nov. 1 – Jan. 31 while in Drought Level 3. This seasonal flow reduction could be extended through the month of February with approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries.

Additionally, the EA added stream flow as an indicator for drought trigger levels. Previously, the Corps of Engineers only used reservoir levels as an indicator of drought levels. Stream flow will be considered using the U.S. Geological Survey gauge at the Broad River, located near Bell, Ga. Because the Broad River is a large, unregulated tributary that flows into the Thurmond reservoir, it provides an accurate representation of natural inflow to the Savannah River Basin.

Under the EA, stream flow is used as a secondary indicator during Drought Levels 1 and 2. Drought Level 1 is initiated when the Thurmond reservoir reaches 326 feet above mean sea level (ft-msl) or when the Hartwell reservoir reaches 656 ft-msl; Level 2 begins when Thurmond reaches 324 ft-msl or when Hartwell reaches 654 ft-msl. If stream flows at the Broad River gauge are less than or equal to 10 percent of the historical flow rate (calculated over a 28-day average), the Corps of Engineers will reduce outflows to 4,000 cfs in Level 1 and 3,800 cfs in Level 2. If Broad River flows are higher than the 10-percent historical flow rate, the Corps of Engineers will set outflows to 4,200 cfs in Level 1 and 4,000 cfs in Level 2.

The reservoirs have remained in Drought Level 2 since Aug. 29, 2011. At that time, outflows were set at 4,000 cfs, according to the Drought Contingency Plan. In October 2011, the Corps further reduced outflows to 3,800 cfs under the authority of the District Commander.

Due to prolonged drought affecting the region, the Corps predicts the reservoirs will enter Drought Level 3 in early October. Under the EA, Drought Level 3 outflows remain at 3,800 cfs until Nov. 1.

Dredging Today Staff, August 14, 2012

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3rd International Congress Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging

Russia’s leading maritime industry Media Group PortNews (www.portnews.ru) holds a traditional annual Congress “Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging” in Moscow. 

The two-day Congress includes the 7th International Forum of Dredging Companies and the 3rd Technical Conference “Modern Solutions for Hydraulic Engineering”.

Infrastructure development is among the real sources of Russia’s economy growth. Construction of port facilities and new hydraulic engineering structures on the country’s inland waterways constitute an essential part of all infrastructure projects. It is important to take into account the best international practices to implement these projects effectively.

The program of the Congress will be devoted to the latest technologies for dredging and hydraulic engineering works. Speakers and delegates will refer to real projects to discuss specifics features of dredging works, as well as dedicated fleet and equipment involved.

To learn more about event, please, contact the organizing committee: snitko@portnews.ru

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