Lock & Dam Park remains closed due to high water levels

Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 4:43 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Lock & Dam Park in Augusta will remain closed to visitors due to safety concerns.

Augusta Fire and Emergency Management services announced Tuesday, saying the closing is because of debris washed ashore by high water levels and persistent flooding of the Savannah River.

The Savannah River has remained at or near flood levels for nearly two weeks. Officials say elevated water levels and dangerous current has pushed debris onto the land, making it hazardous to the public.

Both the North and South boat ramps remain closed. However, officials say the Boat House and Marina boat ramps are open for use.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid with my dad and everything, and we’ve never seen it this high,” said Barney Rains, fisher.

Rains’ popular fishing spot is a little creek off the road.

“Now, it’s all the way up here, and you can barely get a truck in there,” he said.

Tonya Bonitatibus, Savannah Riverkeeper said: “We have this sustained water that’s been going on for so long. The creek streams can’t drain the same way. You have this debris that’s built up, so, unfortunately, some of the areas that are accessible this time of year are still closed.”

At one point, the Army Corps of Engineers said the river was moving more than 344,000 gallons of water per second through the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.

“Over the last 15 years, the quickness of which we saw the floods in downtown Augusta, I’ve only ever seen once before,” said Bonitatibus.

The Army Corps of Engineers says water flows are dropping 50 percent Wednesday and 75 percent Thursday. The riverkeeper hopes to see the park cleaned up over the next few days and expects the river levels to get back to normal over the next two weeks.

“This is what the river needs to do. It needs to flush,” she said.

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