Encourage Dam Removal Study on Chattooga River (GA/SC)

Published 11/23/2021  |  American Whitewater

Tugalo Dam was built 100 years ago. For the past hundred years it has inundated four miles of the Chattooga River and two miles of the Tallulah River beneath a reservoir along the South Carolina and Georgia border. The dam owner has recently proposed to spend roughly $25 Million to upgrade their generators to last another two generations or more. American Whitewater and our partners are asking federal regulators to take a hard look at dam removal as an alternative to re-investing in this old dam that has buried two iconic rivers for a century. Thoughtful letters from paddlers describing the impacts of Tugalo Dam and the likely benefits of removal will help us make the case for a robust dam removal analysis.

Dam removal would add a new 4 mile run to the Chattooga River, and more than double the length of Tallulah Gorge. There are many rapids that would be uncovered that paddlers have dreamed of running for decades. Roughly 600 acres of forest would be restored, providing habitat for native and in some cases rare fish, wildlife, and plants. If needed, the dam could be replaced elsewhere with a solar facility with battery backup that would have half the footprint and not off-gas methane and other greenhouse gases like the reservoir does. Dam removal is a reasonable alternative to reinvesting in the dam, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should provide the dam owner, the public, and themselves with solid information on which to make this pivotal decision.

Comments from river enthusiasts that explain the recreational and other impacts of the current project and potential benefits of dam removal may help inform and inspire FERC to take a hard look at dam removal as an alternative to accepting the dam owners proposal to upgrade the generators.

The deadline for comments is this Friday, November 26th. To comment, click HERE, fill out your contact information, and you’ll then receive an email directing you to a commenting page. Enter Docket Number P-2354-152, select the docket, fill out your comment and submit.


By Kevin Colburn