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For the Department of Energy facility, see Savannah River Sitemarker

A cargo ship navigates the narrow Savannah River channel at Savannah
The Savannah River is a major river in the southeastern United Statesmarker, forming most of the border between the state of South Carolinamarker and Georgiamarker. Two tributaries of the Savannah, the Tugaloo Rivermarker and the Chattooga River, form the northernmost part of the border. The Savannah River drainage basin extends into the southeastern side of the Appalachian Mountainsmarker just inside North Carolinamarker, bounded by the Eastern Continental Dividemarker. The river is around long. It is formed by the confluence of the Tugaloo River and the Seneca River. Today this confluence is submerged beneath Lake Hartwellmarker. At the northwest branch of the river is located the Tallulah Gorgemarker.

Two major cities are located along the Savannah River: Savannah, Georgiamarker, and Augusta, Georgiamarker. They were nuclei of early English settlements during the Colonial period of American history.

Through the building of several locks and dams, and upstream reservoirs like Lake Hartwell, also, the Savannah River is now navigable by freight barges between Augusta, Georgiamarker, (on the Fall Line) and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Savannah River is tidal at Savannah, Georgiamarker and downstream. From Savannah downstream, the river broadens into an estuary before flowing into the Atlantic Oceanmarker. The area where the river's estuary meets the ocean is known as "Tybee Roads". The Intracoastal Waterway flows through a section of the Savannah River near the city of Savannah.


The Savannah River was very influential in the economic development of Georgia, and two major cities were founded on the river in the 18th century. Savannah, Georgiamarker was established as a seaport on the Atlantic Oceanmarker, and Augusta, Georgiamarker is positioned where the river meets the fall line. Many decades ago, the sandy river bottom changed frequently, and that was the cause of numerous steamboat accidents in the nineteenth century. The two large cities on the Savannah served as Georgia's first two state capitals. The Savannah River also became significant in the 1950s when development commenced on the Savannah River Plantmarker for making nuclear-weapons materials.

Historical and variant names of the Savannah River, as listed by the USGS, include May River, Westobou River (for the Westo tribe), Kosalu River, Isundiga River, and Girande River, among others.

Natural history

The Savannah River flows through a variety of climates and ecosystems throughout its course. It is considered an alluvial river, draining a 10,577 square-mile drainage basin and carrying large amounts of sediment to the ocean. At its headwaters in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the climate is quite temperate. The river's tributaries receive a small amount of snow-melt runoff in the winter. The majority of the river's flow through the Piedmont region is dominated by large reservoirs. Below the Fall Line, the river slows, and is surrounded by large blackwater bald cypress swamps. Numerous oxbow lakes mark the locations of old river channels, which have been moved by earthquakes and silting. Another prominent feature is the numerous large bluffs that line the river in some locations, most notably Yamacraw Bluff, the location selected to build the city of Savannah, Georgiamarker. The river becomes a large estuary at the coast, where fresh- and saltwater mix. River dredging operations to maintain the Port of Savannah have caused the estuary zone to move further upstream than its historical home. This is causing the transition of rare freshwater marshland into saltwater spartina marsh.

The river supports a large variety of native and introduced aquatic species:

Notable Tributaries


This is a list of crossings of the Savannah River.
Crossing Carries Location

Front River

Talmadge Memorial Bridgemarker U.S. 17 Savannah, Georgiamarker and South Carolinamarker
Houlihan Bridge S.R. 25 Savannah, Georgiamarker and South Carolinamarker

Back River

Savannah River

Seaboard Coastline Railroad Bridge Railroad Savannah, Georgiamarker and South Carolinamarker
Interstate 95 Bridge I-95 Savannah, Georgiamarker and Hardeeville, South Carolinamarker
Georgia Highway 119 Bridge GA Highway 119 Clyo, Georgia and Garnett, South Carolina
Burtons Ferry Bridge US 301 Sylvania, Georgiamarker and Allendale, South Carolinamarker
Sand Bar Ferry Bridge GA Highway 28 Augusta, Georgiamarker and Beech Island, South Carolina
Bobby Jones Expressway/Palmetto Parkway Bridge Interstate 520 Augusta, Georgiamarker and North Augusta, South Carolinamarker
James U. Jackson Bridge U.S. 25 Augusta, Georgiamarker and North Augusta, South Carolinamarker
Jefferson Davis Highway Bridge U.S. Highway 1 Augusta, Georgiamarker and North Augusta, South Carolinamarker
5th Street Bridge 5th Street Augusta, Georgiamarker and North Augusta, South Carolinamarker
13th Street Bridge GA/SC Highway 25 Augusta, Georgiamarker and North Augusta, South Carolinamarker
Interstate 20 Bridge I-20 Augusta, Georgiamarker and North Augusta, South Carolinamarker
Furys Ferry Bridge GA/SC Highway 28 Evans, Georgiamarker and South Carolinamarker
Lake Strom Thurmondmarker dam US 221 Rosemont, Georgia and Clarks Hill, South Carolinamarker
McCormick Highway Dam US 378 Lincolnton, Georgiamarker and McCormick, South Carolinamarker
Calhoun Falls Highway Bridge over Lake Richard B.marker Russellmarker GA/SC Highway 72 Georgia and Calhoun Falls, South Carolinamarker
Elberton Highway Bridge over Lake Richard B.marker Russellmarker SC Highway 184 Elberton, Georgiamarker and Iva, South Carolinamarker
Smith McGee Bridge SC Highway 181 Hartwell, Georgiamarker and Iva, South Carolinamarker
Hartwell Dam Bridge US 29 Hartwell, Georgiamarker and Anderson, South Carolinamarker
Lake Hartwell Bridge Interstate 85 Lavonia, Georgiamarker and Fair Play, South Carolinamarker
Toccoa Highway Bridge (old and new) US 123 Toccoa, Georgiamarker and Westminster, South Carolinamarker
Cleveland Pike Bridge Cleveland Pike Road Toccoa, Georgiamarker and Westminster, South Carolinamarker

See also



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