US Army Corps of Engineers
Savannah District

Savannah River Below Augusta Restore Ecosystem, GA

PROJECT NAME AND STATE:  Savannah River Below Augusta Restore Ecosystem, GA

AUTHORIZATION:  This study is authorized under the US House of Representatives Committee on Public Works and Transportation Resolution dated August 1, 1990 and Section 1201(29) of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.
                     

SUMMARIZED FINANCIAL DATA

Feasibility

Estimated Federal Cost

$1,185,500

Estimated Non-Federal Cost

$1,185,500

Total Estimated Cost

 $2,371,000

Allocation thru FY 2016

 $47,480

President's Budget for FY2017                                $60,000
Programmed Balance to Complete After FY2017                                $1,078,020
President's Budget for FY2018                                 $0

 

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION: Environmental Restoration.  The study area includes the Savannah River and surrounding wetlands from the vicinity of Augusta, Georgia, to the upper end of the Savannah Harbor.  The authorized project for the Savannah River Below Augusta (SRBA) provides for a navigation channel 9 feet deep and 90 feet wide from the upper end of Savannah Harbor (mile 21.31) to the head of navigation at Augusta just above the 13th Street bridge (mile 202.16), a distance of 180.85 miles.
                
ACTIVITIES FOR FY2019Revise and approve the Project Management Plan and draft the Review Plan including scope, schedule, and budget; conduct an Alternatives Milestone Meeting.
           
ACTIVITIES FOR FY2020
Draft reports and documents leading to the Tentatively Selected Plan, complete cost estimate, DQC and ATR reviews, prepare for and provide documents leading to MSC Agency decision, and release for public and agency review.

ISSUES AND OTHER INFORMATIONThe Savanah River is one of nine rivers in the USACE/The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Sustainable Rivers Program.  The South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) considers most of the Savannah River as the highest priority for shared conservation action in the South Atlantic geography.  There are 18 federally-listed species in the Savannah River Basin -five are federally threatened and 13 are federally-endangered. In addition, there are 55 species that are either state-listed or those of special concern. In August 2017, NOAA finalized a rule that designated the Savannah River as critical habitat for Atlantic sturgeon.

Restoration efforts in this area provide the opportunity to improve spawning and nursery habitat within the Savannah River for rare, threatened, and endangered species such as the Atlantic sturgeon, shortnose Sturgeon, and the robust redhorse as well as improving the foraging and spawning habitat for recreationally important species such as the largemouth bass.  Restoration efforts have the potential to hydrologically reconnect wetlands and the floodplain to the river which may improve base flow during low water events.

Along the SRBA, there are 46 cutoff bends considered part of the authorized navigation channel. The study would follow the cited study authority and consider modification of existing structures and cutoffs with impacts to navigation, recreation, loss of fish and wildlife resources, wetlands and other environmental issues. In January 2017, one of the non-Federal sponsors (Phinizy Center for Water Sciences) notified the District it was discontinuing participation and, at that time, the other co-sponsor (Savannah Riverkeeper) was unable to provide the required cost-shared funding required to continue work on the study.  As a result, the Savannah District issued notice in March 2017 suspending the study due to funding shortfalls.

In February 2019, following a new investment decision to resume this study, the district received funds from the Savannah Riverkeeper IAW the FCSA executed 1 August 2016.  The district has submitted a request for a waiver to the 3x3x3 rule as the study is currently set to terminate 1 August 2019.

MILESTONES:

Receive Federal Funding

15 Feb 2019 (A)

Alternative Milestone

22 May 2019 (A)

Tentatively Selected Plan 23 Jan 2020
Agency Decision Milestone 6 Aug 2020
Signed Chief's Report 28 May 2021

 

 

ADMINISTRATION POSITION:  This project is consistent with Administration policy.
              
ACTION OFFICER:  Margarett (Mackie) McIntosh                                  11 June 2019

 

 

                                      CESAS/912-652-5320