Year-end rainfall wrap-up

As 2017 came to a close, the Savannah River Basin seemed much like folks looking back at the year that was: It definitely has been worse, but still could have been better.

Building off a drought that started in January 2016 (which left the basin severely parched – Hartwell’s rain deficit was more than 19 inches below its 58-inch average), 2017 appeared to be a step in the right direction.

Each of the sub-basins recorded above average rainfall for six scattered months; and while Hartwell finished 2.2 inches below average, Russell and Thurmond were 2.36 and 2.45 inches above their annual averages, respectively.

I want to draw attention to this fact because context is important. Last week an anonymous user posted this in the “Rants & Raves” section of the Augusta Chronicle (Jan. 3):
While technically above average (Thurmond received 48.70 inches compared to its 46.25 annual average), it was hardly enough to mitigate the negative effects created by 2016’s nearly 15-inch deficit.

In a similar fashion (as shown in the graphic at the top of the page), October’s rainfall far exceeded the average (Hartwell: 7.68 inches versus a 4.04-inch average; Russell: 5.7 vs. 3.25-inch average; and Thurmond, slightly less pronounced at 3.98 vs. a 3.02-inch average), only to be outdone by November and December’s deficits.

Even with those huge October gains, Hartwell was still at 83% of its three-month average for October through December, while Russell and Thurmond sat at 87% and 81%, respectively.

As we have mentioned before, in order for the basin to fully recover from the drought, we need sustained, above average rainfall.

We also routinely answer questions about why other lakes in the region are at full pool while Hartwell and Thurmond languish 5-6 feet below winter guide curve.

The answer is as simple as it is complex.

In addition to still being in recovery mode from the drought, our reservoirs serve several different (and sometimes competing) functions outside of merely generating hydropower, which include flood storage, providing commercial and municipal water, recreation and environmental purposes.

We treat the Savannah River Basin as a system, not just individual reservoirs.

Looking ahead to 2018, meteorologists at the Southeast River Forecast Center called for a warmer than average, drier than average winter in their Dec. 13 Water Resource Outlook.

Put in perspective, they stressed an “average level of certainty” relating to this prediction and expect to update these forecasts in the coming weeks.

While no one knows what 2018 will bring, we’ll be the first ones cheering when sustained, above average rainfall finally comes.

~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Corporate Communications Office

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Sadlers Creek Deer Dip

What are you doing on January 1st? Come out and take a “dip,” a “Deer Dip”! In the grand tradition of the famed “Polar Bear Plunges”, join in the annual “Deer Dip” on New Year’s Day and be one of hardy-souled “Dippers” at Saddlers Creek State Park. And start your year off with a splash! Due to cold temperatures and water, this event will be physically challenging and potentially dangerous. Participants under 18 must be with a parent.

DETAILS

January 1, 2018, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

MEETING PLACE

Meet at the Pavilion.

WHAT TO BRING

Warm clothes to change into, towels, old sneakers or swim shoes, and a blanket. Think safety and comfort – bring whatever else you think will get you warm again.

EVENT HOURS

1pm – 2pm

PRICE

Bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank.                                                          

    Sadlers Creek

940 Sadlers Creek Rd,

Anderson, SC 29626

 

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Recycle Your Christmas Tree as a Fish Attractor

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hartwell Lake Project Office will accept natural Christmas trees (no artificial trees) for recycling Dec. 26, 2017, through Jan. 25, 2018.

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 the trees off. Wire-bound wreaths are not accepted.

“Small trees and brush provide cover for fish, particularly as nursery areas for juvenile fish,” Corps Park Ranger Jess Fleming said. “In addition, they provide habitat for aquatic insects – essential food during the early stages of most fish species.”

Christmas trees can be dropped off at Big Oaks Recreation Area and Poplar Springs boat ramp in Georgia. Trees can also be dropped off at Twin Lakes and Friendship boat ramps in South Carolina.

“These trees can be picked up by fishermen any time for personal use in other areas of Hartwell Lake,” Fleming said. “Trees should be anchored in 8 to 12 feet of water. Do not place Christmas trees in the main lake channel or around private docks.”

Mount Lebanon Elementary in Pendleton, S.C. will also be a drop-off location. Trees can be dropped at the school from Dec. 26 through Jan. 18, 2018. The drop-off area will be roped off near the entrance to the school.

For more information, contact the Hartwell Lake Manager’s Office toll free at 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 www.sas.usace.army.mil/lakes/hartwell/fishing.htm.

 

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