New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam

A crowd of several hundred gathered in Augusta Wednesday evening to ask representatives from The Army Corps of Engineers how they came to the decision to demolish The New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, in spite of overwhelming objections from local residents on both sides of the Savannah River in Georgia and South Carolina.

Removing the structure was one of several options under consideration as part of the environmental remediation connected to The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.    

Edith Carson-Supino, NOAA Fisheries

For years, the deepening of the harbor in Savannah has been one of the most eagerly awaited boosts to Georgia’s economy. With a deeper harbor comes more goods to move across the country.

But a deeper harbor will also make life harder for the endangered Atlantic Sturgeon and its smaller cousin, the Short-Nose Sturgeon.

Billy Birdwell / Army Corp of Engineers

The mayors of Augusta and North Augusta, South Carolina, hosted a public meeting Thursday night to discuss an Army Corp of Engineers plan to replace the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam with a rock weir. 

The project is part of environmental remediation for the Savannah Harbor deepening.  The primary goal is to create a passage for short nose and atlantic sturgeon to get to their historic spawning grounds in the Augusta Shoals, about 19 miles upstream from the site of the lock and dam.  Both species are considered “endangered.”