As you know, Lakes Hartwell, Thurmond, and Russell are at record low water levels, and many of our communities face water shortages that could challenge their ability to meet water supply needs in the near and distant future.
I was greatly pleased that in November of 2008, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) allowed the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to temporarily reduce the outflow rate of Lakes Hartwell, Thurmond, and Russell from 3600cfs to 3100cfs.
Unfortunately, in February of 2009 NOAA and the ACOE decided to increase the flow back to 3600cfs due to the possible effect on the habitat of the short-nosed sturgeon. This decision was made without any conclusive evidence that the short-nosed sturgeon would be adversely affected. This action jeopardizes the health of our lakes and the economies of the surrounding communities.
On February 17, 2009, I sent a letter to NOAA and the ACOE asking that they reconsider this decision and return the outflow rate to 3100cfs at Lakes Hartwell, Thurmond, and Russell. The water needs of the constituents of Georgia should take precedent over the questionable needs of the short-nosed sturgeon during the current drought.
Since I was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007, I have been tirelessly working with my fellow delegation members in a truly bipartisan effort to come up with to a solution to Georgia's water crisis. Rest assured that I will continue to work on solutions for our region and state until, by God's grace, water levels return to acceptable levels.