Real Estate Information Archive


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by Jay Hufnagel

Here is an email that I received from Jerry Clontz, spokesman for Save Our Lakes Now. Currently, we're about 10.5 feet down from full pool. I really don't understand why the Corps would want to release more water before the lakes have a chance to fill up. To me, it makes more sense to take advantage of the rain we've had, and keep the releases low to get the lake to full pool.  If you're a Lake Hartwell Real Estate homeowner or have an active interest in the lake, please contact one or more of the Government representatives listed below.

The Corps shows they plan to increase release rates on Lake Thurmond to from 3100cfs  to 3800 in mid February and 4,000 at the end of February.  With the lakes as low as they are and no guarantee we will be able to refill by start of the summer this is crazy.  In the past we had a very poor drought plan but at least it kept the release rates at 3600cfs until the lakes refill.  Why for heaven's sake would you want to make the plan worse by going to higher release rates.

There is absolutely no justification for such a move.  3600 cfs has been demonstrated over and over to be satisfactory downstream.  Every 100cfs over 3600 is a foot of lake level in a year.  If we go to 4000 from now to june the lake will be 2ft lower going into the summer and 4ft lower this time next year.

Please call or write the Colonel and your congressman and senators on this immediately.  The email addresses of the congressmen and senators we have been in contact with on lake levels is

Jim Demint by way of Danielle Gibbs at

Jeff Duncan by way of Janice McCord at

Paul Broun by way of Jordan Chinouth at

 And the Colonel's email is: Colonel Jeffery Hall at  

Jerry Clontz, spokesman for Save Our Lakes Now


by Jay Hufnagel

Here's an interesting email that I received from Save Our Lakes Now concerning the lake levels and flow from Lake Hartwell and Thurmond:

The Corps is proudly announcing that they plan to go to 3100cfs release rate out of Thurmond shortly when the lake hits 14' below full pool. This is fine compared to any other options we have now but this is a real miscarriage of their responsibilities if you look at what they have allowed to happen.  In order to keep our lakes at reasonable levels the Corps needs to drop release rates to 3600 cfs (3100 in winter months) anytime the lakes are 2' below full pool.  Instead the Corps is waiting until the lakes are down over 14' and virtually destroyed before they do this.

The argument the Corps keeps giving is that people downstream would be hurt unnecessarily if the rates were decreased before now.  Not true.  Not one single stakeholder on the river had problems with operation at 3600cfs for over 12 consecutive months in the drought of 2008-9.  The only people who complained were environmental groups expressing concern that problems MIGHT occur at this low a flow to the river. 

There are a number of very strong arguments to counter holding flows up because they MIGHT be a problem. 

  1. If a REAL problem occurs the release rates can be increased when that happens
  2. Nature only provides 3600cfs input averaged over a year so anything higher than that is man trying to one up Nature. Man just isn't that smart.  Smoothing out flooding and the severity of the driest parts of droughts makes sense but trying to generate water out of thin air does not.
  3. Water is one of our most precious commodities.  It ranks right up there with air.  Deliberately throwing fresh water away by releasing more to the ocean than nature does is criminal and needs to stop.

These challenges are taken care of by simply dropping releases to 3600cfs (3100 in winter months) whenever the lakes are down 2'.  No more water is going to the ocean than nature requires.  No one is harmed downstream based on past experience.  And true balance between the lakes and the river is achieved (i.e. neither the river nor the lakes are getting more water than the other).


by Jay Hufnagel

2012 Lake Hartwell Real Estate Results (as of 10/18/2012)


Even with the Lake Level down approximately 13 feet, Buyers are still looking for Great Deals on Lake Hartwell. One of the biggest challenges facing Buyers is that the Inventory of good homes (priced at current market rates) is down.  Many Sellers haven’t been willing to list their properties at discounted prices. Recently, I talked with another Agent that said he felt current sales prices were at 1996 levels. He could be right!


Here are statistics for the 2012 “waterfront” Real Estate (year to date) activity on Lake Hartwell. This list does not include condos and townhomes (source: SC Western Upstate MLS and does not include FSBO and non Upstate MLS listings):




Homes Sold –                                                             90                                                                  

            Average Days on the Market –                       209                 

            Average List Price -                                   $367,386             

            Average Sale Price -                                     335,850             

            Sale vs. List Price –                                         91.3%             

                        Note: List Price is the last price reflected in the MLS listing

                                  and may not be the Original List price. Also, some properties

                                  may have been listed multiple times.   

            Current Active Listings -                                 260                

            Current Homes Pending (under contract) -       11


If you’d like to receive an actual list of Lake Hartwell Real Estate (Waterfront Homes sold in 2012), please click on the link below or email Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, at


Homes Sold


Click Here to View Listings


The time to buy lake property is now ….”they’re not making any more of it”.   


By: Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, Lake and Home Group, 770-757-2799, just “Say Jay” for Real Estate


by Jay Hufnagel

Here's an interesting email message that I received from the Save our Lakes Now Organization. I especially found it interesting that it'll take 9 inches of rain in one month to saturate the ground enough so that the Savannah River Basin (Lake Hartwell, Lake Thurmond, and Lake Russell) can benefit from the run off in a rain. If you're a Lake Hartwell Real Estate stakeholder or home owner, the message below may provide some explanations on:

                                    WHERE DID THE RAIN GO?

 I know every lake stakeholder is wondering where the heck all that rain went.  For a while I was about to agree with the conspiracy theorists who are convinced the Corps is not telling us the truth about releases and lake levels, etc. Some even suggested there must be a hidden pipeline running to Atlanta and they are stealing all our water.  Turns out none of this is true.  The numbers the Corps is showing and the explanations they are giving for why we didn't get a huge jump in lake level with the recent rains appear to be correct.

I've looked at this in a lot of detail since it rained and I have to say it looks like the water runoff got consumed by the dry ground and vegetation before making it to the basin.  Release rates were held at 3800 cfs and all stream indicators downstream (especially the levels at Clyo which is the last point in the system where stream measurements are taken before the harbor) show no unusual flow that would indicate higher release rates than the Corps shows.  We've been talking to climatologists to see if they agree with what the Corps is claiming about dry ground and vegetation and they do. And no matter how hard I look I can't find any evidence of a hidden water line to Atlanta.

Climatologists that study rainfall and drought levels for the Savannah River Basin  claim it will take more than 9 inches of rain in one month to get the soil etc back to normal so that we get run off in a rain.  We desperately need a tropical system to park right over the basin and give us this kind of rain.

Meanwhile we continue to work on getting the drought control plan for the Savannah River System corrected so that future events won't be this devastating.  Following our recommended drought control plan our lakes would have several more feet of water in them than they do now.  Repeating what we've preached all along, we need a much more agressive approach to drought response than currently exists.  Our recommended approach remains unchanged;

~ We propose that release rates from Thurmond be reduced to 3600cfs (3100 in colder months) anytime Thurmond drops below 328ft.  The proposed plan by the Corps is to lower releases anytime the Broad River flows indicate we are in a drought. While this is a significant improvement it is not as aggressive as our proposal because they wait longer to initiate flow reductions and their proposed reductions are 3800cfs instead of 3600.
~ Continue 3600cfs until the lakes refill.  The current plan by the Corps is to increase flows as the lake recovers making it more difficult to refill the lakes
~ Modify the rule curve so that we only drop the lakes 2' rather than 4' following the summer. The current Corps plan is to stay with a 4' drop at the end of summer.

The reasoning the Corps is offering for not adopting our more aggressive approach is they want to wait until a 2 or so year study can be completed.  Our reasoning is we did these changes for over 12 consecutive months in 2008-9 with no problems.  We are saying go with what we learned in 2008 unless or until some unexpected problem occurs.

It is frustrating to keep repeating our proposals.  It would be much easier to simply go along with the Corps' proposals.  But this repetition is necessary because the Corps, over time, continues to get further away from what we are recommending.  This is probably a matter of the Corps compromising with the various environmental agencies.  Unfortunately such compromising costs us many feet of lake level during droughts.  At one time they were agreeing with a 2' drop in the winter rather than a 4'drop.  And at one time they agreed to go to 3600cfs rather than 3800.  And at one time they agreed to hold the lower release rates until the lakes refill.  Now all that has changed.  The compromise to stay with a 4' drop in the winter costs us 2' at the start of a drought.  The compromise of 3800 instead of 3600 cfs costs us 2' a year in lake level. And the compromise on how the lakes are refilled will stretch out our misery unnecessarily following a drought.   


by Jay Hufnagel

I received this email from Save our Lakes Now explaining (in basic terms) how lake levels are managed on Lake Hartwell and Lake Thurmond and the Savannah River Basin. If you own or are planning to buy Lake Hartwell Real Estate, the article below can shed some light on lake level management and what options are being presented to the US Army Corps of Engineers. In my opinion, they really make sense.

Where we are on Lake Thurmond and Hartwell Levels:
How we got here and How we can avoid in the future

It's been sometime since we discussed the essential elements of avoiding low lake levels in Lake Hartwell and Lake Thurmond. A lot of you have been with us from the start but there are many who are just now getting into the fray and there is a good bit of confusion over why we are seeing these huge drops in lake level. The purpose of this blog posting is to go back over the basic elements of the problem and how it can be improved.

First, many at Lake Hartwell wonder why all they hear about is release rates from Lake Thurmond. They naturally wonder why we aren't concerned about release rates from Lake Hartwell. The reason for this is that both Hartwell and Thurmond are kept in balance such that Hartwell drops 1ft for every 1ft drop in Thurmond. The only difference between Thurmond and Hartwell is that Thurmond is where the water is ultimately released and the release rates at Thurmond control the levels for both lakes.

Going back to basics, the thinking that the dams along the Savannah River do nothing but cause problems for people downstream is incorrect. Just the opposite is true. The dams in the Savannah River Basin actually have made major improvements for the river downstream of Lake Thurmond. First the dams prevent the destructive flooding that used to occur during periods of heavy rain. Second the dams have completely eliminated the severe droughts that used to occur in the river during times of drought. Before the dams were constructed river flows as low as 500cfs could occur in a severe drought. Now the river never experiences flows of less than 3600cfs even in the droughts of record.

Continuing with basics, the average amount of rain that comes into the basin upstream of Lake Thurmond during droughts of record is 3,600cfs. And the basis for pollution release limits along the river is 3,600cfs releases from Thurmond Dam. And during the drought of record in 2008 the releases from Lake Thurmond were held at 3600cfs for over 18 consecutive months with no reports of problems from downstream stakeholders. Hence Save Our Lakes Now and other lake stakeholder groups have recommended that the Corps drop immediately to a release rate of 3600cfs anytime the lakes drop 2ft below full pool. Following this approach we should not experience drops of 16ft and more like we did in previous droughts of record. The Corps now is using a release rate of 3800cfs which sounds similar but the problem is they started way later than when the lakes were down 2ft and 3800cfs vs 3600cfs results in an additional 2ft drop each year.

In the past numerous excuses and or reasons have been used to justify refusal to go to 3600cfs at the start of a drought. Investigation into each one revealed that these reasons were not founded on good science. For the sake of brevity I will hold off on going into each and every one but let me give the example of power generation and oxygen levels in the harbor. Initially the Corps claimed their power contracts with SEPA prevented them curtailing releases to the rates we were recommending. Save Our Lake Now discussed this with officials from SEPA and discovered that they prefer the lakes be kept as full as possible because they depend on us for peaking power rather than long term total watts generated. The worst thing that could happen for them is to need peaking power and the lakes be so low it can not be provided. Failure to meet planned power totals are easily made up by rebalancing power from the other 7 lakes in our grid. And so far as dissolved oxygen in the harbor, fears that lowered releases from Thurmond might decrease already poor oxygen levels in the harbor are unfounded. However in fact the tide from the Atlantic Ocean is so much larger than our river flows that the oxygen levels in the harbor are determined by the ocean rather than our release rates.

Let me summarize what we would like the Corps to do. Following these recommendations we should never reach the levels we are at now regardless of how long a drought lasts. We ask that they respond to any unexplained drop of 2ft in lake levels with an immediate drop in release rates from Thurmond dam to 3600cfs. Further we recommend that during the winter months when that rate can be reduced further without detriment that the release rates be dropped to 3100cfs. And finally, when the river is swollen from heavy rains during periods of severe drought that releases from Thurmond Dam be reduced to zero as long as the river remains swollen.

Responses to incorrect thinking:
Wrong- lake stake holders are just selfish and want more than their share of the water.
Right- the Corps is sending more water downstream during a drought than nature is providing by rain hence river stake holders are receiving more than their fair share of the water.
Wrong- dropping release rates to 3600cfs too soon would result in people downstream suffering unecessarily.
Right- if release rates are dropped to 3600cfs because of a 2ft drop and we are not really in a drought the lakes will refill quickly and normal releases resumed.
Wrong- dropping release rates to 3600cfs is inconsiderate of environmental protection
Right- if the dams were kept full at all times the environment would experience exactly the same river flows it did before constructing the dams. 3600cfs already is a huge benefit to environmental protection by preventing the river from ever experiencing severe droughts again.
Wrong- flows in excess of 3600cfs should be used to keep the river as healthy as possible
Right- since we can not make water out of thin air, flows greater than we are receiving from rain could easily destroy the system. By averaging the rainfall over a years time we are already providing maximum possible benefits to the river.


by Jay Hufnagel

Save our Lakes Now (an Organization dedicated to preserving Lake Hartwell and it's water level) recently sent out the following email asking for help. If you own Lake Hartwell Real Estate or enjoy it on occasions, I think you'll agree it makes sense.

Save Our Lakes Now Position on New Drought EA

The Corps of Engineers has issued an EA for comment concerning the drought control plan for Lakes Thurmond and Hartwell. The new proposal represents a definite improvement over the past drought plan but falls well short of the drought plan proposed by Save Our Lakes Now and other lake groups over a year ago. Comments are requested prior to May 12th and we recommend all stakeholders around the lakes send in their personal comments. The way the Corps' proposal compares to the one proposed by Save Our Lakes Now and other lake groups over a year ago is summarized below.

Save Our Lakes Now proposed that release rates from Lake Thurmond be reduced to 3600cfs whenever the lake levels drop 2ft below full pool. The basis for the 3600cfs figure is two fold. First it matches the annual rate of rainfall during the droughts of record which means the lakes would be able to withstand the drought of record regardless of how long it may go on. Second it matches the release rates demonstrated to be acceptable to all stakeholders downstream of Thurmond Dam during the drought of 2008.

The New Corps proposal waits until the lakes are down 4ft before starting reduced flows the same as in the past. The Corps proposal then decreases release rates 200cfs (compared to the current drought plan) at each trigger level. The different trigger levels are 4' below full pool, 6' below full pool and 14' below full pool. These rates, while a step in the right direction, only increase the resulting lake level 2ft in a year above the current drought plan (each 100 cfs in release rate represents 1ft of lake level in a year). For example we would have ended up in 2008 at 316' instead of 314'. While this is a definite improvement it is not nearly as good as holding the total drop to 8' the way our proposal does and it leaves us open to the possibility of totally destroying the lakes if the drought goes on longer than in 2008.

Additionally the EA proposes further reductions November through January of 200 cfs at trigger level 2 and 500 cfs at trigger level 3. The proposals from lake groups included a 500cfs drop below the 3600cfs release rate during winter months. So again while the Corps proposal is in the right direction it is not as good as what was proposed by the lake groups over a year ago.

One additonal proposal Save Our Lakes Now recommends for drought control is to completely stop releases from Thurmond dam anytime the river below the dams is swollen from rains during a drought.

The actual Corps publication on the proposed EA is at .
Comments can be submitted via e-mail to:

The official comments from Save Our Lakes Now will be as follows:
We have reviewed the proposals in the draft EA on the Savannah River Basin Drought Plan and we see it as a definite improvement over the current drought plan. However we feel a more agressive approach should be used to maintain lake levels. We continue to recommend that the release rates from Thurmond Dam be reduced to 3600cfs whenever Lake Thurmond is below 328' until the lake refills. And we further recommend releases be reduced to 3100cfs during winter months anytime Lake Thurmond is below 328'. Furthermore we recommend releases from Thurmond Dam be completely stopped during a drought anytime the river is swollen from rains so as to maximize the rate the lakes regain normal levels. 



by Jay Hufnagel

I received the following email this morning from the "Save Our Lakes Now" organization. If you're a stakeholder in Lake Hartwell Real Estate or just enjoy the lake, joining this cause could make a difference.


When trying to fight city hall you often feel nothing will ever come of your efforts. This is doubly true when you are up against federal regulations, environmental concerns, claims of selfishly wanting lake level at the expense of everyone downstream, and entrenched practices of the Corps of Engineers. But we are making progress. It's been slower than we would like but the ice is melting and real progress could well be just around the corner. The Corps is even planning a near term change to the drought plan using an EA which is what we have been pleading for for several years.

A year or so back our proposals for improved drought plans were met with numerous road blocks:
1) SEPA would never permit due to contracts on power production
2) Short Nosed Sturgeon spawning grounds would be destroyed
3) Dissolved Oxygen in the harbor would be impacted
4) Many of the industrial concerns downstream would suffer severe harm
5) The lakes would not be experiencing their fair share of problems during a drought
6) The economic effects of low lake levels are insignificant
7) Wildlife and Fisheries in Athens would never permit such a change
8) Congress would never permit such changes
9) Money from the states was needed to fund a phase 2 study

One by one each has been eliminated. None of these were valid reasons to not change our drought plan. Basically we became a fact finding organization and literally met with the groups the Corps claimed were preventing them from adopting our proposals. It turns out in the final analysis that the Corps can make such changes at their discretion provided an Environmental Assessment is made.
Billboard Purchased by SOLN
It has taken many hours of sitting down with the various parties involved to get their reasoning on the table. And it has taken publicizing our plight. Several newspapers, The Austin Rhodes Show (WGAC), our blogs etc. have finally penetrated the 
protective fog that once surrounded Corps decisions. We even put up a billboard and held a protest demonstration at Thurmond Dam. In the past 3 months we have visited Jeff Duncan, and Jim DeMint and continued communication with Paul Broun for assistance from our national Congressmen and Senators and Shane Massey for help at the State Senate level. We are presently visiting the various County Councils around the Lakes of the Savannah River Basin and plans are in progress to meet with the Governors of both GA and SC.

All this takes time and money. Up till now only a few people have been responsible for the work and funding. Save Our Lakes Now is seeking a larger working base to make things happen more quickly and to make sure we never slip back into the horrible lake levels experienced in past droughts. If you can help with your time, money, or both please come join our effort. Details are available at



by Jay Hufnagel

I received an important email this morning from Jerry Clontz, a very active member of the "Save our Lakes Now" group. Jerry has been instrumental in putting pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers for the Savannah River Basin on keeping water levels stable. This Basin comprises Lake Hartwell, Lake Keowee, Jocassee, Lake Thurmond and Lake Russell. We've seen the consequences before on the irresponsible release of water from this basin in times of drought. Please read Jerry's note below and email Colonel Hall on your thoughts.

To: Save Our Lakes Members
from: Jerry Clontz spokesman for Save Our Lakes Now
Again I need your help until I can get my email straightened out to where I can mail the full list for Save Our Lakes Now.  Please inform anyone you know who is interested in maintaining responsible release rates from Thurmond Dam.
According to a news release from Friends of the Savannah River Basin the Corps is about to fall off the wagon on lake levels.  Although SEPA has repeatedly indicated they want Lake Thurmond to stay as full as possible to avoid the danger of losing the lake in a drought, the Corps is using the excuse of meeting power needs to drop the lake levels irresponsibly.  Why would any sane person throw away water in a drought.  But that is what they are about to do.
Apparently they plan to release 6,000 then 8400 then 8000 cfs over the next few weeks and months dropping the lake to drought level.  If they would just hold releases at a rate matching rain input (down to 3600cfs if neccessary) we could avoid all this dancing with the devil that could easily end up with us losing the lakes.  The deal about power production is a hollow excuse because power production comes from a wide array of lakes where those with adequate rain make up for those with low rains.  Besides as SEPA knows if we lose the lake they will no longer have a reliable source of power.
Col Hall's email is 
If your interested in the "Save Our Lakes Now" program please feel free to contact Jerry at .


by Jay Hufnagel

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Lake Hartwell is continuing to receive comments on reducing flows from the Savannah River Basin Reservoirs. Here's a comment from a Lake Home Owner that was sent in recently: 

"As home owners on Lake Hartwell, we realize that the lake level here is the keystone to balancing the water levels within the basin. Since we are presently in a Stage 1 drought as evidenced by a reduction of the current lake level by over 5 feet, it is our opinion that to implement the proposed flow reduction strategy would be most prudent. Without this flow reduction, the Corp’s ability to sustain the river basin in the event of continued drought conditions will be adversely effected this Spring. Obviously the continued decline of water levels in Lake Hartwell and its adverse effect upon recreational activities this coming year is a concern to us. We understand that the Corp has a greater responsibility than providing home owners with the opportunity to use the lake for their pleasure. However if the flow reduction is not implemented now, the Corp will not be able to respond in the future if the drought should continue. Thank you for this opportunity to provide our “two cents”."

Have you sent in your comments? Please do!




by Jay Hufnagel

Recently, I received a couple of emails stating that the US Army Corps of Engineers is accepting comments on reducing the water flow this winter. About three years ago, the Corps did the same thing for Lake Lanier in Georgia. Out of over 10,000 Lake Lanier home owners, only 300 – 400 sent comments. That’s sad!  Here’s an opportunity to voice your thoughts.  Please see the email messages below for contact information.



Email Dated October 20, 2009

There is a Public Comment period open until October 31st for a temporary provision to reduce the amount of water released this winter. These comments can be made via email, US mail, or fax.

 Send comments to:

 US Army Corps of Engineers

Savannah District, Savannah Planning Unit

ATTN: Mr. William Bailey

PO Box 889

Savannah, GA 31402-0889

Fax: 912 652 5787

Sample comment:  I am a member of the Lake Hartwell Association and a full time resident on the lake. I strongly urge the Corps to maintain reduced flow rates until the Upstate lakes have reached full pool levels or until there is clear evidence of adverse impacts to the basin (we have certainly experienced our share of clear and severe impacts to Lake Hartwell in recent years). The historic drought of recent years has taught us that we must take every measure to conserve the precious water resources of Hartwell Lake and the Savannah River Basin.


Email Dated October 12, 2009 

If you have not done so yet please send an email to Col. Kertis of the Corps immediately.  We need to get as many emails to him as possible before the deadline for public comment is over on October 30.  Tell him in your own words how you feel about the Corps continuing to ignore our economic and recreational losses around the lakes.  How you feel about them refusing to correct the drought plan so we don't have a repeat of the mess we had last year.  In your own words remind him how they almost lost control of the lakes completely in the last drought and Save Our Lakes Now proposal would prevent that happening in the future.  If you had a bad experience during the last drought such as being unable to use your dock, etc. you may want to throw in a comment or two about that.


The Colonel's email address is 


Please Click here for Current Lake Level Information.


By Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, , 864-287-7530.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

Contact Information

Lake and Home Group
Keller Williams Realty
4878 Manhattan Dr.
Buford GA 30518
GA: 770-757-2799
SC: 864-287-7530
Fax: 770-504-5509