Upper Savannah River reservoirs enter Drought Level 2

DSC_0005SAVANNAH, Ga. – The three reservoirs operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the upper Savannah River entered Drought Level 2 as of 6 a.m. Sept. 19, when the level of the J. Strom Thurmond Lake dipped to 323.97 feet above mean sea level (ft-msl). When one of the reservoirs enters a drought level the other two also enter that drought level.

Any level below 324 ft-msl at Lake Thurmond or below 654 ft-msl at Lake Hartwell will activate Drought Level 2. Lake Hartwell’s level measured 654.81 ft-msl Monday afternoon.

Corps officials urge boaters to use extreme caution when on the reservoir. Rocks and tree stumps, normally deep underwater, will be closer to the surface, some just out of sight. These obstructions form a particular hazard in coves and along the shoreline. Boaters should use the main channel whenever possible. All reservoir visitors should wear a life jacket whenever in, on or near the water. Entering the water unexpectedly is a major cause of drownings.

Water managers for the Savannah District began coordination with the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) to reduce outflows from the Thurmond Dam to 4,000 cubic feet per second. They expect to reach this reduction by Saturday in order to give SEPA time to make other arrangements for electrical generation.

The Broad River, an unregulated tributary feeding the Savannah River and Lake Thurmond currently flows at 16 percent of its 30-day average flow. Should the Broad River drop below 10 percent, the District’s drought plan calls for further reductions in outflows from the Thurmond Dam.

The Savannah District’s reservoirs last entered Drought Level 2 in August 2011 and last climbed above Level 2 in March 2013.

~ Billy Birdwell, Corporate Communications Office

Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Upper Savannah River reservoirs enter Drought Level 2

Above average August rainfall keeps reservoirs steady


Rainfall in all three reservoir sub-basins exceeded normal in August. While no single event provided the basin with massive runoff, the steady and consistent small rain events kept the reservoirs at a relatively flat level.

Leading the charge: Hartwell with observed rainfall and Russell with percentage.

The Hartwell sub-basin took in 6.7 inches of rain, or 134.2 percent of the monthly average for August. This kept the reservoir level rather steady. Whereas in August Hartwell typically drops nearly 1.5 feet, last month it declined less than 1 foot between the first and last days of the month.August Rainfall

Russell, being the smallest sub-basin, had a really good August. It received 1.5 times its usual amount of August rain and the second highest amount at 5.5 inches, compared to an average of 3.66 inches. As usual, because of its original design and purpose, Russell Lake, also known as “Sir Russell the Steady” kept a flat level but remained above its August average level, though only slightly.

Thurmond’s sub-basin fared better than average but not as well as the others. Its 4.27 inches of rain beat its average of 3.71 inches and gave the basin 115 percent of August average. This was only enough to keep the reservoir flat all month with a beginning and ending level less than three-quarters of an inch apart.

While we celebrate Tropical Storm Hermine did not cause massive damage to our basin, it also did not deposit significant rain into any of the sub-basins. We have just entered the most active Atlantic hurricane time, so the Savannah District remains alert to fulfill our mission of flood risk reduction. All the devastating storms can just remain out in the ocean but we welcome gentle rainmakers to visit our area.

Stay safe. Stay alert to changing weather patterns. Wear your life jacket whenever you are in, on or near the water. Most of all, enjoy the reservoirs.

~ Billy Birdwell, Corporate Communications Office

Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Above average August rainfall keeps reservoirs steady

Lake Hartwell Hunting

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hartwell Lake Office will open four of its larger recreation areas for archery and small game hunting during the regular 2016-2017 Georgia hunting season. These areas include:

  • Paynes Creek Park, Hart County, GA. (399 acres)
  • Hartwell Dam Quarry Area, Hart County, GA. (410 acres)
  • New Prospect Park, Hart County, GA. (34 acres)
  • Jenkins Ferry Park, Stephens County, GA. (31 acres)

The Hartwell Dam Quarry is restricted to archery equipment only during deer and turkey seasons. A permit is required from the Hartwell Lake Office which is available at no cost. Hunting regulations, license requirements, and seasons set by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, will apply. Information on regulations is available from state wildlife offices.

Small game hunting is allowed in all areas listed above but only after the deer and turkey season closes. Hunting for small game is restricted to shotgun only with number 4 shot or smaller. Hunting for deer and turkey is restricted to archery equipment only – all firearms are prohibited. The areas will be open on a walk-in or boat-in only basis.  No motorized vehicles will be allowed within the gated area. Only portable stands or blinds are acceptable and must be removed from public land after the season.

The Corps areas listed below are considered part of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Fant’s Grove WMA hunting area. Contact the SCDNR at 864-654-1671 for information on licenses, seasons and bag limits.

  • South Carolina River, Anderson County, S.C. (125 acres)
  • Glenn Ferry Park, Anderson County, S.C. (211 acres)
  • Weldon Island Park, Anderson County, S.C. (138 acres)
  • Apple Island Park, Anderson County, S.C. (107 acres)
  • Townville Park, Anderson County, S.C. (23 acres)
  • River Forks Park, Anderson County, S.C. (182 acres), No hunting in closed portion of the recreation area.
  • Camp Creek Park, Anderson County, S.C. (48 acres)
  • Martin Creek Park, Oconee County, S.C. (60 acres)
  • Choestoea Park, Oconee County, S.C. (369 acres)

Hunting is prohibited in all designated recreation areas unless listed above. All other public lands and waters around Hartwell Lake, including islands, are open to hunting in accordance with Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations and Georgia and South Carolina hunting regulations. Due to safety concerns, big game hunters are encouraged to use archery equipment only while hunting on the islands.

Feral hog hunting is allowed on Hartwell Project lands year round except areas designated as WMAs. A letter permit is required when hunting hogs outside the state deer season on all Hartwell Project property. Dogs are only allowed outside of the state deer and turkey season. Long rifles are not allowed.

For additional information and permits, contact Park Ranger Jess Fleming at the Hartwell Lake Project Office at 888-893-0678, ext. 335, or 706-856-0335.

Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Lake Hartwell Hunting