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An open letter to the Corps of Engineers

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  • An open letter to the Corps of Engineers

    Dear Corps of Engineers,

    First of all I'd like to thank you for providing us Atlantans with a fantastic fly fishing resource. To have such a quality fishery on our doorstep is amazing.

    I do have one small ask that would only improve this wonderful resource....

    Please please please (PLEASE!) can you review and consider changing the time of your current daily releases.

    This morning at Jones Bridge I had approximately 1 hour of fishing before the aforementioned release started to raise the water levels. With the time of the release it really does reduce fishing window to early mornings unless you head up to Settles or the dam.

    I've also had most success fishing caddis in the late morning/early afternoon as the water warms up a little. It's a little frustrating to see these hatches washed out during such a fantastic time to fish the river. Indeed, I was just starting to see some top-water action when the levels started to tick upwards.

    Might I suggest a later afternoon release as more appropriate. It would leave the majority of the Hooch fishable during the week and give us all an opportunity to some exciting caddis action.

    Thank-you for your attention to this matter.

    Regards

    Hooch Lover and fisher of Caddis Dries.
    Last edited by Trout8myfly; 03-21-14, 01:09 PM. Reason: fixed thread title

  • #2
    *cough* Corp of Engineers... *cough*

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    • #3
      Originally posted by srickaby View Post
      Dear Core of Engineers,

      First of all I'd like to thank you for providing us Atlantans with a fantastic fly fishing resource. To have such a quality fishery on our doorstep is amazing.

      I do have one small ask that would only improve this wonderful resource....

      Please please please (PLEASE!) can you review and consider changing the time of your current daily releases.

      This morning at Jones Bridge I had approximately 1 hour of fishing before the aforementioned release started to raise the water levels. With the time of the release it really does reduce fishing window to early mornings unless you head up to Settles or the dam.

      I've also had most success fishing caddis in the late morning/early afternoon as the water warms up a little. It's a little frustrating to see these hatches washed out during such a fantastic time to fish the river. Indeed, I was just starting to see some top-water action when the levels started to tick upwards.

      Might I suggest a later afternoon release as more appropriate. It would leave the majority of the Hooch fishable during the week and give us all an opportunity to some exciting caddis action.

      Thank-you for your attention to this matter.

      Regards

      Hooch Lover and fisher of Caddis Dries.
      I'd love to get some clear information from the COE on what drives the release schedule. My assumption for now though is that the releases are probably planned to coincide with peak demand across the grid, and if that's the case I'd guess there's little chance of schedule changes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by netsec View Post
        I'd love to get some clear information from the COE on what drives the release schedule. My assumption for now though is that the releases are probably planned to coincide with peak demand across the grid, and if that's the case I'd guess there's little chance of schedule changes.
        Current Lake Level is about an inch below the full summer pool level of 1071FASL. I imagine the releases of late have been based upon trying to maintain enough room in the lake for any rains that may come through and push it above full pool again.

        Last year, the lake rose to nearly three feet above full pool at one point. That's mildly disconcerting to folks whose property lines the bank of Lake Lanier. It also puts undue stress on Buford Dam. Flood pool is at 1085FASL, but a wise Corps of Engineers would seek to prevent the reservoir from ever even approaching that level. (Thus, we get the double releases, the continuous releases, and the days on end releases that totally screw with our enjoyment of fishing the 'Hooch tail waters.)

        It kinda sucks that trout fishing is of secondary importance to scheduling releases from Buford Dam, but the fact is, that without Buford Dam there would be no trout fishery on the 'Hooch. So yeah, I gripe and grumble about it too, but I'm also secretly thankful that the COE is there in the first place.
        If you have difficulty understanding the post above, read it out loud and it should make sense. This NGTO member is known for his poor hill-billy upbringing and his affinity for all things from Louisiana (particularly if it relates to LSU). It makes for a poor mix of accents and much difficulty in translation. He was doing well for so long, but now seems to have regressed.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Swamp Angel View Post
          Current Lake Level is about an inch below the full summer pool level of 1071FASL. I imagine the releases of late have been based upon trying to maintain enough room in the lake for any rains that may come through and push it above full pool again.

          Last year, the lake rose to nearly three feet above full pool at one point. That's mildly disconcerting to folks whose property lines the bank of Lake Lanier. It also puts undue stress on Buford Dam. Flood pool is at 1085FASL, but a wise Corps of Engineers would seek to prevent the reservoir from ever even approaching that level. (Thus, we get the double releases, the continuous releases, and the days on end releases that totally screw with our enjoyment of fishing the 'Hooch tail waters.)

          It kinda sucks that trout fishing is of secondary importance to scheduling releases from Buford Dam, but the fact is, that without Buford Dam there would be no trout fishery on the 'Hooch. So yeah, I gripe and grumble about it too, but I'm also secretly thankful that the COE is there in the first place.
          One could argue though that managing the pool level could be done with nightly releases (say starting around 6-7PM. They were doing that for a while during the colder months but I think that once again goes back to generation demand, during colder weather I bet the demand is higher at night than it is during the day (for obvious reason).

          My guess is that they develop a generation schedule that meets demand needs and factors in the pool level as part of the equation, with the only exception being the corner or edge cases that come into play such as extreme rain release from a storm.

          Comment


          • #6
            Open letter to the Corps of Engineers

            I agree with Netsec, the releases could be managed to provide greater fishing time during the day.

            If it is truly a demand situation then it would be great to have that explained by the CoE.

            Today's release was just 4 hours. Surely if demand is high at that time then the release should be longer? Since they can't store the power it wouldn't necessarily make sense that such a regular release schedule could be maintained if this is really set based upon power demands.

            I do recall past years where the releases were more evening oriented during the warmer months.

            Apologies for the mis-spelling(). My main lament is the potentially awesome dry fly action that we could miss over the coming weeks.

            Last year at this time the releases were much more accommodating (evening I believe) and the hatches were more predictable at Jones Bridge as a result. Right up until the rains came and the lake went over full-pool......

            Comment


            • #7
              Keep in mind that there are two states south of us....that have gone to court to get the COE / GA Power to release more water. For reasons other than power generation, they often need more water downriver.....fresh water for oysters in Appalachicola and barge traffic comes to mind.
              The Drifter

              The contents of this message might be totally inaccurate, misguided or otherwise perverse. If you are stupid enough to follow any of the tips listed here and mess up yourself or your equipment, I am absolved of all responsibility. The information contained herein is based on my personal experience and by no means constitutes the correct way to do it. Your mileage may vary.

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              • #8
                As Drifter mentions, this is far more complex than it first appears. Many stakeholders with varying agendas. I don't suppose I need to tell you where recreational fishermen are on the "totem pole."

                I like what I hear about how releases are handled in Arkansas (White, Little Red )but I have no personal experience out there, just some minor reading. Maybe Zach Mathew's could give us a brief comparison, he is very familiar with both areas.
                Can I soak the felt on my wading boots with CDC dressing and walk on water? If so, should I start a church? What should I call it?
                -FM

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                • #9
                  Dear COE,

                  I live near the dam. I love the current release schedule.

                  Big T
                  http://www.bigtflyfishing.com

                  Use Promo Code NGTO for 5% off

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The original Congressionally mandated purposes for Lanier are: flood protection, power generation, water storage, and navigation (downstream flow regulation). Much later recreation, and fish and wildlife management were added. Water supply is a benefit but not part of the original mandate depending on what state attorneys or judges you want to believe.

                    There are many factors that determine scheduling of water releases from Buford but the most important is timing. Generally speaking as far as meeting power needs, electricity produced during the day when demand is high has more value than at night. A good example is Carter's lake which is a pump storage facility. They generate during the day, and pump it back into the reservoir at night. I believe SEPA (Southeast Power Admin.) has a big influence on scheduling hydropower releases.

                    Staging when water reaches downstream water intake locations is also important to meeting water demands. A water release from Buford can improve water quality and increase quantity.

                    Release scheduling also has an impact on effectiveness in diluting Atlanta's treated discharges back into the Chattahoochee which impact river water quality.

                    As far as meeting the flood control mission I have seen them release 24/7 to lower the lake when it was in flood stage. Releases can also meet multiple purposes at a given time.

                    As others have mentioned recreation is probably the lowest priority. But keep in mind that the Corps does tend to minimize releases on the weekends when recreational use on the river is higher.

                    If you want a detailed official explanation why not contact the COE public affairs office at cesam-pa@usace.army.mil


                    Last edited by natureman; 03-20-14, 05:14 PM.

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                    • #11
                      The dam is regulated by government. Several years ago they let out a billion gallons because they could not read the gauge. Surely there is a better way to satisfy all interest. I especially like the guy on the recording that can't speak English


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Orangepowerbait View Post
                        The dam is regulated by government. Several years ago they let out a billion gallons because they could not read the gauge. Surely there is a better way to satisfy all interest. I especially like the guy on the recording that can't speak English


                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                        It had nothing to do with not being able to read a gauge. It was a new gauge part to replace the original fifty year old part. The original manufacturer and part supplier had incorrectly specified the diameter of the replacement part by about .001 hundredths of an inch. It could be read fine. It was really an issue of putting to much faith in a single measuring device. Because of this, today there are redundant lake level measuring systems at all COE lakes in the southeast and less likelihood of a re-occurrence. Also, some think releasing all that water was a total waste. In reality it passed thru over a dozen downstream COE and GA Power powerhouses producing a tremendous amount of cheap, relatively clean electricity. Though that does not in any way justify the mistake.

                        How do I know this to be true? I was there.
                        Last edited by natureman; 03-20-14, 06:34 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Drifter View Post
                          Keep in mind that there are two states south of us....that have gone to court to get the COE / GA Power to release more water. For reasons other than power generation, they often need more water downriver.....fresh water for oysters in Appalachicola and barge traffic comes to mind.
                          And places like these:

                          Farley Nuclear Power Plant:




                          Plant Yates, Georgia Power



                          And in Smyrna, Plant McDonough:

                          "What's his offense?"
                          "Groping for trouts in a peculiar river."
                          ― William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

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                          • #14
                            I realize that there are many factors that determine the schedule.However with schedules that are sometimes 5 AM sometimes 4:37 .Obviously this is pretty arbitrary.I'm sure a local TU chapter has to have had some COE person as a guest explainer.If not I would love to see it happen.How do other tailwaters handle releases with regards to fishing?Isnt it a huge waste to have a fish hatchery and dump in fish that fisherman (who pay for trout stamps)will never be allowed to fish for.Yes I know there are more important reasons for dams than fisherman but many states seem to have more flexible rules to allow for recreation

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Daves deceiver View Post
                              I realize that there are many factors that determine the schedule.However with schedules that are sometimes 5 AM sometimes 4:37 .Obviously this is pretty arbitrary...
                              I think you are not seeing the full picture. Lanier/Buford is unique compared to other dams like on the Nantahala that have set release schedules. I can think of few other dams/lakes like Lanier that have such heavy demands placed on them. Lanier holds over 60% of the water in the entire Chattahoochee River corridor, supplies over 5 million people with water, is upstream of a major metro area and downstream provides water needs for numerous cities and large industrial complexes. When SEPA manages the electric grid it many times depends on Buford to take up the slack from coal and natural gas fired power plants. Buford is also know as a "peaking plant" as it can start providing electricity in a matter of minutes vs. gas/coal plants that first have to build up a head of steam which is a lengthy process.

                              I don't think nitpicking changes in the water release times is justified. They have a job to do and I respect that. It is a complex decision making process involving a multitude of professionals from several agencies. I think many folks don't understand that and instead think it is some lowly government worker throwing a switch and trying to tick folks off. That's not how things work.

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