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Old 03-20-14, 12:01 PM   #1
srickaby
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Default 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 at 02:09 PM. Reason: fixed thread title
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Old 03-20-14, 02:27 PM   #2
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*cough* Corp of Engineers... *cough*

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Old 03-20-14, 02:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
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.
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Old 03-20-14, 02:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
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.
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Old 03-20-14, 03:23 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 03-20-14, 04:09 PM   #6
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Default 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......
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Old 03-20-14, 04:22 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 03-20-14, 05:04 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 03-20-14, 05:39 PM   #9
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Dear COE,

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

Big T
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Old 03-20-14, 06:02 PM   #10
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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 at 06:14 PM.
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