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Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake

Welcome to Richard B. Russell Lake and Dam Project, the most recent multi-purpose water resource development built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. Due to Federal Laws that prohibit private exclusive use of public lands surrounding the lake, the area remains strikingly beautiful and picturesque. Many visitors express their appreciation with the Corps for maintaining the aesthetic qualities of the lake and shoreline - a unique experience for most outdoor enthusiasts in the area. With its undeveloped shorelines, Russell Lake provides an outdoor experience that goes beyond just fishing - visitors enjoy the beautiful scenery as well as the abundant wildlife.

Please stop by our Visitor Center located in the Operations Manager's Office approximately 4 miles south of Georgia State Highway 72 just off the Bobby Brown State Park Road. Here you can receive local information and purchase Annual Parking Passes. We also have a variety of brochures and pamphlets that will assist you during your visit to the Richard B. Russell Lake and Dam Project.

Visitor Center and office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

News & Events

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SAVANNAH, Ga. – Youth can capture the fun of spring and fishing at the 28th annual Kid’s Fishing Derby April 23 at Richard B. Russell Lake.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Richard B. Russell Lake Office invites youth ages 15 and younger to tackle the challenge of catching the famous Southern delicacy: catfish. The event will be held at the Blue Hole Recreation Area located on Highway 81 in Calhoun Falls, South Carolina, from shortly after 8 a.m. until about noon. Gates will open around 7 a.m. for registration.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Every year thousands of people in the United States mourn the loss of loved ones who could have survived if they had been wearing a life jacket while spending time on or near our nation’s waters. To heighten awareness for the use of life jackets, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently launched a new water safety campaign titled “Life Jackets Worn … Nobody Mourns.” The campaign targets adult men as the higher-risk demographic. The effort was developed by USACE, in cooperation with the Corps of Engineers Natural Resources and Education Foundation, a non-profit foundation established to support USACE natural resources and recreation programs.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The new year ushers in changes to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Savannah District fee structure for recreation day use at boat launches and swimming beaches managed by USACE. Fees for USACE annual passes to these facilities will also change.
Due to recent above-normal rainfall in the upper Savannah River Basin, Savannah District anticipates a need to operate the spillway gates early on the morning of Dec. 31 at the three major dams in the Savannah River system: Hartwell Dam, Richard B. Russell Dam and J. Strom Thurmond Dam.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District is scheduled to conduct youth waterfowl hunts at the Richard B. Russell Project Office on the following five dates: Nov. 28, Dec. 12, Dec. 19, Jan. 2, and Jan. 16 (dates subject to change).  Three slots, selected by random drawing, will be available at each hunt for youth hunters ages 9 to 15.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District will waive all day use fees for visitors during Fee-Free Day Sept. 26, held in conjunction with National Public Lands Day. NPLD volunteers are additionally eligible to receive a fee-free coupon valid for one year from the issue date.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District will hold public workshops Sept. 14 at the Elberton Civic Center and Sept. 15 at the Calhoun Falls Civic Center from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to solicit comments on natural resources management and recreational development. Comments from the public workshop will be used to update the master plan at the Richard B. Russell Project.
SAVANNAH, Ga. –The three reservoirs on the Savannah River operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers entered the first drought level early Sunday morning when pool elevation at J. Strom Thurmond Lake dipped to 325.91 feet above mean sea level (ft-msl). Entering Trigger Level 1 activates the Corps’drought management plan which limits the discharge rate from the Thurmond Dam.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Richard B. Russell Project Office will conduct two youth dove hunts Sept. 12 and 19, 2015 from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Ten slots, filled by random drawing, will be available at each hunt for youth hunters ages 9 to 15.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Richard B. Russell Lake Office, in partnership with state and private agencies, will host the 27th annual Kid’s Fishing Derby and Water Safety Program Saturday, April 25, at Blue Hole Recreation Area from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The gates, located on Highway 81 Calhoun Falls in South Carolina, will open at approximately 7 a.m. for early arrivals and registration.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – New 2015 annual passes for day use recreation areas are now available for purchase at the Corps’ Savannah District's three dam and lake projects — lakes Hartwell, Richard B. Russell, and J. Strom Thurmond.
ELBERTON, Ga. – Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA), and Duke Energy signed a new operating agreement today defining how water resources will be shared among the Duke Energy and Corps reservoirs in the Savannah River Basin. This operating agreement will increase drought tolerance within the watershed and promote conservation efforts.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Richard B. Russell Lake Office seeks volunteers for the annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) cleanup campaign, beginning Aug. 25 and concluding on NPLD, Sept. 27. Volunteers from scout groups, civic organizations, church groups, schools and businesses are encouraged to pick up trash around the shoreline and islands at Russell Lake. Trash bags will be provided upon request, or volunteers may bring their own. All participants will receive a map of the lake and a t-shirt, while supplies last.

Click here to download Volunteer Registration Form.

National Public Lands Day, coordinated by the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation, began with the idea that millions of Americans who use federal, state, and local public lands each year could spend a day volunteering their time to the land and their country. The cleanup is also affiliated with South Carolina’s Beach Sweep/ River Sweep and Georgia’s Rivers Alive.

Click here to read News Release.





Contact Information

Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake Office
4144 Russell Dam Drive
Elberton, GA 30635-9271

Phone Numbers
706-213-3400 or toll free at