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Savannah River, Georgia & South Carolina

Developing new approaches to meet multiple needs

The Savannah River provides drinking water for more than one million people and hosts numerous endangered, threatened and rare species of plants and animals. The three Corps dams on the river included in SRP activities generate hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours of hydroelectricity each year. The reservoirs at J. Strom Thurmond Dam, Richard B. Russell Dam and Hartwell Dam are visited by a total of more than one million people annually.

Because of the river’s vital importance, the Corps and Conservancy are modifying reservoir operations to maintain and even enhance the many services provided by the Savannah, particularly in the face of continuing drought conditions.

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Savannah River

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The Savannah River has been altered by hydrologic regulation and channel modification in the past half century. J. Strom Thurmond Dam is the lowermost of three large dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers on the Savannah River, which forms the border between Georgia and South Carolina. 

The Lower Savannah River, flows downstream from Thurmond Dam approximately 185 miles and supports several types of ecosystems such as floodplains and river shoals, and provides habitats for a diverse array of species. Flows in the Lower Savannah River are a result of water released from Thurmond Dam and tributary inputs from the third of the Savannah River watershed downstream from the dam. Changing releases from the dam affects the hydrologic regime of the river. 

As part of the US Army Corps Savannah River Basin Comprehensive Planning Process, the Corps, The Nature Conservancy and the US Fish and Wildlife Service signed a cooperative agreement to study and recommend flows in the Lower Savannah River that would improve ecological conditions and associated ecosystems.

 

  • South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • University of Georgia
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources - Coastal Resources Division
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • South Carolina Coastal Conservation League

  1. Duncan, W.W., M.C. Freeman, C.A. Jennings, and J.T. McLean. 2003. Considerations for flow alternatives that sustain Savannah River fish populations. pp. 468 - 471. In Proceedings of the 2003 Georgia Water Resources Conference, held April 23-24, 2003, at the University of Georgia. Kathryn Hatcher, editor. Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens GA. 
  2. Duncan, W.W. and E.M. Eudaly. 2003. Draft Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Report on Savannah River Basin Comprehensive Study. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta GA. 
  3. Hale, V.S. and C.R. Jackson. 2003. Hydrologic modifications to the Lower Savannah River. pp. 460 - 463. In Proceedings of the 2003 Georgia Water Resources Conference, held April 23-24, 2003, at the University of Georgia. Kathryn Hatcher, editor. Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens GA. 
  4. Meyer, J., M. Alber, W. Duncan, M. Freeman, C.Hale, R. Jackson, C. Jennings, M. Palta, E. Richardson, R. Sharitz, J. Sheldon, and R. Weyers. 2003. Summary Report Supporting the Development of Ecosystem Flow Recommendations for the Savannah River below Thurmond Dam. www.rivercenter.uga.edu.
  5. Palta, M.M., E.A. Richardson, and R.R. Sharitz. 2003. Effects of altered flow regimes on floodplain forest processes in the Savannah River Basin. pp. 464 - 467. In Proceedings of the 2003 Georgia Water Resources Conference, held April 23-24, 2003, at the University of Georgia. Kathryn Hatcher, editor. Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens GA. 
  6. Richter, B.D., J.L. Meyer, K. Lutz and A. Warner. 2003. Specifying water flow requirements to support river health. pp. 457 - 459. In Proceedings of the 2003 Georgia Water Resources Conference, held April 23-24, 2003, at the University of Georgia. Kathryn Hatcher, editor. Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens GA.

Publications

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TitleSiteDate
Savannah - Monitoring floodplain and ecosystem responsesSavannah River2010
Savannah - Ecosystem service valuationSavannah River2011
Savannah - Draft monitoring planSavannah River2012
Savannah - Review of ecological monitoring effortsSavannah River2012
Savannah - Drought studiesSavannah River2014
Savannah - Environmental flows science summarySavannah River2003
Savannah - Environmental flows workshop report Savannah River2003
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