Looking back is looking up

After toiling diligently for the past two plus years, it seems the Savannah River Basin has finally freed itself from the drought that began in 2016.

For seven months in 2018 the sub-basins exceeded their rainfall averages (eight for Russell), while November’s and December’s totals provided the coup de grâce or punctuation mark for “The drought is dead!”

(Indeed, December’s totals were so far above the average that when placed on a bar graph they look like an exclamation point.)

The excitement began to morph into concern in late December, as the reservoirs began to fill, runoff increased, and maintenance on Thurmond’s gates required us to maintain levels slightly below full pool.

According to Scott Hyatt, operations project manager at J. Strom Thurmond, work has been going smoothly and the crew is proceeding as quickly as possible. Workers are finishing gate 17 (of 23) and averaging about two weeks per gate. At that rate, the

maintenance should be completed by April.

The heavy rainfall also forced us to delay the fixed weir pool simulation for the recommended fixed crest weir at the New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam, originally scheduled for Jan. 5. Reservoir levels and inflows are still too high for the simulation, but we may still have an opportunity to conduct the simulation in February if rainfall cooperates.

Looking back, though, 2018 ranked third highest all-time for total annual rainfall for the Russell and Thurmond sub-basins (58.61 and 5

8.15 inches) and eighth for Hartwell (71.99 inches). Russell and Thurmond were within 5 inches of their annual rainfall records (63.53 inches (2015) and 64.32 inches (1964), respectively).

As previously mentioned, December was a banner month for the basin. Hartwell registered a hair below 12 inches (compared to its 5.25-inch average) while Russell and Thurmond picked up 9.9 and 9.3 inches (versus 4.2- and 4.1-inch averages), respectively.

The beginning of the year hasn’t approached the gangbusters level of the previous two months, but we’re still on par to reach or exceed January’s average for each of the sub-basins. Each has collected in the vicinity of 3 inches and anywhere from 66-74 percent of its average.

In the past 10 years, more often than not the sub-basins have fallen below average in January. However, the first three months of the year are also the wettest, and in non-drought years really set the stage for the summer full pool.

Thanks, as always, for engaging with us via this forum (and on other social media platforms). We appreciate the feedback.

~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Corporate Communications Office

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Happy Holidays from BuyHartwellLake LLC

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Corps’ Hartwell Lake Project accepts Christmas trees for recycling

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hartwell Lake Project Office will accept natural Christmas trees (no artificial trees) for

recycling Dec. 26 through Jan. 25, 2019.

The recycled trees will be used as fish attractors in Hartwell Lake. Trees will be tied in bundles, weighted with concrete anchors, and then submerged in various locations marked with fish attractor buoys. All ornaments and tinsel must be removed before dropping off the trees.

Christmas trees can be dropped off at designated donation sites at Big Oaks and Poplar Springs boat ramps in Georgia and Twin Lakes and Friendship boat ramps in South Carolina. Mount Lebanon Elementary School located in Pendleton, South Carolina, also serves as a drop-off location from Dec. 26 through Jan. 18, 2019.

Donated trees can be picked up by fishermen any time for personal placement. Trees should be anchored in 8-12 feet of water. Do not place Christmas trees in the main lake channel or around private docks.

“Small trees and brush provide cover for fish, particularly as nursery areas for juvenile fish,” said Corps Natural Resources Specialist Jess Fleming. “In addition, they provide habitat for aquatic insects which serve as an essential food source during the early developmental stages of most fish species.”

For more information, contact the Hartwell Lake Operations Project Manager’s Office toll free 888‑893‑0678, or visit their website at http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/lakes/hartwell. For a list of fish attractor locations and GPS coordinates, visit them online at http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/lakes/hartwell/fishing.htm.

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