STATEMENT OF ISSUE: The Etowah Water and Sewer Authority (Authority) proposes to construct a dam on Russell Creek to create a 137-acre, pump-storage water supply reservoir with a proposed safe yield of 11.5 million gallons of water per day to serve Dawson County through the year 2060. The Russell Creek dam will be constructed at the location of an existing dam constructed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service for flood control. Russell Creek Reservoir would be supplemented by pumping water from the Etowah River. The proposed project is located in the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa Rivers Basin (ACT).
BACKGROUND: On January 8, 2008, the Authority submitted to the Savannah District an application for an individual Section 404 Department of the Army permit. Additional information was submitted and a Joint Public Notice was published by Savannah District and the State of Georgia on February 27, 2008. Jurisdictional waters that will be impacted include 5.52 acres of wetlands and 24,550 linear feet of streams. The Authority proposes to purchase required compensatory mitigation credits from mitigation bank(s) serving the project watershed.
CURRENT STATUS: The Authority submitted hydrologic modeling data to assess the potential impacts of the proposed reservoirs on Federal projects operated by Mobile District. On June 9, 2015, Mobile District issued a determination that the proposed project would have no effect on its Federal projects. On July 17, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a revised Biological Opinion to address potential adverse effects to the federally-listed Northern Long-eared Bat completing endangered species coordination. On August 18, 2015, the State Historic Preservation Office acknowledged the Authority’s fulfillment of the required mitigation of effects to historic resources affected by the proposed project.
On November 10, 2015, the Savannah District requested that the Authority coordinate with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (Georgia EPD) to recertify the need for Russell Creek Reservoir following release of the 2015 Georgia Office of Planning and Budget’s revised population projections for Dawson County. On December 7, 2015, the Authority requested a 60-day extension in which to submit documentation to the Savannah District supporting the recertification of need. On December 18, 2015, Savannah District granted the extension, requesting that such documentation be submitted by February 10, 2016. The Georgia EPD has not issued the required Section 401 Water Quality Certification and water withdrawal permits for the project.
DISTRICT POC: Adam White, Regulatory Division, (678) 422-2730.