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January 22, 2008 


BEAR CREEK RESERVOIR PERMIT APPLIED FOR

PUBLIC HEARING NEEDED

 

Newton County has applied for a 404 Permit from the Department of the Army to build Bear Creek Reservoir.  The application was dated January 9, 2008 by the USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers). This is the same reservoir that Newton County tried to get the Jasper County BOC to buy a 25% share in 2003.  Four years ago the Jasper County BOC was ready to sign on and shell out money for a reservoir that didn’t exist and still doesn’t exist.

See copy of permit application here  

With the drought as headline news on almost a daily basis, the Georgia State Legislature, the Water Council, and the Governor have all decided that reservoirs may well be the “solution” to the drought.  Bear Creek Reservoir could become a reality and affect everyone on Jackson Lake.

 

The USACE is soliciting comments from the public to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny the permit for Bear Creek Reservoir.  It would be in everyone’s best interest to write and ask for a public hearing concerning Bear Creek Reservoir.  The comments and/or request for Public Hearing must be made within 30 days of the date on the application; your request must be received by the USACE by February 8, 2008.  Here is the address and suggested format:

Department of the Army

Savannah District, Corps of Engineers

100 W. Oglethorpe Avenue

Savannah, Georgia 31402-0839

 

Request for Public Hearing on Application # 200003600

    Newton Cty Board of Commissioners, Bear Creek Reservoir

 

Gentlemen:

    This is a request for a public hearing on the above application.  We need more information about the permit.  The public has not been informed as to (see reasons and facts below to fill in here).

Please schedule a public hearing with the Newton County Commissioners and County Attorney moderated by the USACE.

 
     Thank you,

             Signature

 
cc: Georgia Dept of Natural Resources

            EPD, Water Protection Branch

            4220 International Parkway, Suite 101

            Atlanta, GA 30354

 
REASONS TO REQUEST A PUBLIC HEARING

·        Henry County recently built a reservoir called Tussahaw Reservoir.  Henry County draws water out of Tussahaw Creek continuously to fill the reservoir.  Tussahaw Creek has gone from a flow of 40 mgd (million gallons per day) to 2.5 mgd.  What will Bear Creek Reservoir do to the Alcovy River?  Both Tussahaw Creek and the Alcovy River feed into Jackson Lake.  How will this affect Jackson Lake and those that live on the lake?

·        The proposed reservoir will impact 136 acres of wetlands and 24 miles of streams.

·        A complete study of each available site should be completed prior to committing taxpayer monies. In the case of the proposed “Bear Creek Reservoir” this has not been done.

·        A competent, independent company should evaluate all potential local withdrawal sites.

·        The public has not been informed of the amount of monies nor has the public been afforded the opportunity to review the plans or permit application for exactly what and to whom tax dollars are to be obligated

·        The only way to keep the proposed reservoir at full pool is the pumping of supplemental raw water from the nearby Alcovy river.  The fact is that the flow in the Alcovy River actually goes below the required flow during dry times. 

·        Pumping would reduce the flow in the Alcovy River by 66%. This destroys down stream ecology and affects wildlife and fish.

·        No public meetings or letters of information relating to the Bear Creek project have ever been published.  No one knows what this project has already cost, what it is going to cost, and what it entails. The project is a mystery to the public, only the Newton County Attorney and Board of Commissioners are “in the know”.

 
These are reasons to request a public meeting with the Newton County Board of Commissioners and the Newton County attorney moderated by the USACE.   

 
Based on estimated costs to construct a raw water reservoir, including legal fees, construction, wetlands mitigation, supplemental raw water pumping station, and Endangered Species Act obligations one can only imagine the total cost of the proposed Bear Creek Reservoir.  One must wonder who Newton County is looking to partner with this time as it will be burdensome for the Newton County taxpayers to handle the debt themselves.

 
Please, write your letter and request a public hearing before the USACE issues a permit to Newton County for Bear Creek Reservoir.

 

TWG
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