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Richard B. Russell Lake (GA SC)
Welcome to Richard B. Russell Lake and Dam Project, the most recent multi-purpose water resource development built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. Due to Federal Laws that prohibit private exclusive use of public lands surrounding the lake, the area remains strikingly beautiful and picturesque. Many visitors express their appreciation with the Corps for maintaining the aesthetic qualities of the lake and shoreline â€“ a unique experience for most outdoor enthusiasts in the area. With its undeveloped shorelines, Russell Lake provides an outdoor experience that goes beyond just fishing â€“ visitors enjoy the beautiful scenery as well as the abundant wildlife.
The Richard B. Russell lake project provides a source of recreation for more than 4 million visitors each year. With 26,650 acres of water, 26,500 acres of land and a shoreline of 540 miles, Richard B. Russell Lake is becoming a very popular public recreation lake. Sound management of this resource is necessary to protect and preserve the project for future generations while providing quality recreation opportunities for todayâ€™s visitors. Management must ensure a balance between the recreation user, the environment, and the conservation of the project resources.
The Corps of Engineers seek to manage and protect the shoreline of the lake by establishing and maintaining acceptable fish and wildlife habitat, aesthetic quality and natural environmental conditions; and to promote the safe and healthful use of these shorelines for recreational purposes by the public. Considerations must also be given to possible conflicts of use between the general public and the owners of private property adjacent to the project. Use of public land by adjacent private property owners which would lead the public to believe public land is privately owned is called private exclusive use.
The policy of the Chief of Engineers is that private exclusive use will not be permitted on lakes constructed after December 1974 â€“ and Richard B. Russell falls into that category.
This means that privately-owned boat docks, launching ramps, driveways, gardens, buildings, developed walkways, vista clearings, under-brushing, mowing, and other private lakeshore uses will not be permitted. This policy does not mean that landowners who share a common boundary with public property at the lake cannot use the lakeshore lands. There is no prohibition against pedestrian use of any public property at the lake except in a very few restricted areas near the dam. In this respect, adjacent landowners have the right accorded to any other member of the public, plus a private access point from their property to public land and water.
Corps project personnel are often asked about disposal by Corps of project lands for development, especially if any of the land is excess to project needs. At Richard B. Russell Lake, none of the project lands are considered excess to project needs because all areas are used for Richard B. Russell mitigation.
Mitigation is a term used to describe the cooperative efforts of responsible federal and state agencies to develop methods to replace or offset wildlife habitat lost because of project construction. A mitigation report for Richard B. Russell was prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act. The land flooded by the lake was rated on its capability to support the various species of wildlife. An interagency mitigation team determined that almost 50 percent of the habitat of the flooded land could be compensated for by intensive wildlife management of Richard B. Russell project lands. The Mitigation plan also stresses the importance of maintaining the 300 foot collar lands as an uninterrupted travel corridor for wildlife.
Please stop by the Visitor Center located in the Operations Managerâ€™s Office approximately 4 miles south of Georgia State Highway 72 just off the Bobby Brown State Park Road. Here you can purchase maps of the lake, Golden Age or Golden Access cards, and Annual Parking Passes. A variety of brochures and pamphlets are also available that will assist you during your visit to the Richard B. Russell Lake and Dam Project.
Visitor Center and office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Lakes Online Website for Richard B. Russell Lake: Russell.LakesOnline.com.