Locks and Dams

Corps Appeals Savannah Lock Order

The Savannah Engineer District has decided to appeal a judge’s November order halting the Corps’ plans to close the lone lock and dam on the Savannah River. The Corps has wanted to tear down the obsolete Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, but many Augusta, Ga., interests and local elected officials want to keep it. 

Augusta  sees the riverfront as the focus of both historic and ecological preservation efforts, as well as recreation. Local interests argue that closing the lock would lower water levels in the river, affecting fish species.

The Corps has proposed building a rock weir fish passage after it tears down the lock. South Carolina District Judge Richard Gergel halted the Corps’ tear-down efforts and ordered it to come up with a plan to preserve fish populations. Gergel said the Corps’ plan did not adhere to the 2016 federal Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. Plaintiffs—including the state of South Carolina and the city of Augusta—argue the WIIN Act requires the water level behind the lock and dam to remain at the level it was when the act passed.

The district filed its notice of appeal January 21 to Gergel’s permanent injunction against the project.