The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project involves the Corps of Engineers deepening the Savannah Harbor to allow for larger ship traffic. Dredging materials will be deposited offshore near the beaches of Tybee Island. The project will impact surfing and other recreational activities, create safety issues, pose environmental concerns, and result in dredging materials washing up on area beaches.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION and UPDATES
- April 18, 2013 Savannah Harbor Expansion Project Settlement Proposed
- August 28, 2012 SHEP Update from Surfrider Foundation Atlanta Chapter
- August 17, 2012 Chief of Engineers’ Report on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project
- June 5, 2012 Southern Environmental Law Center Press Release and Public Comments
- January 12, 2012 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Final General Re-evaluation Report (GRR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
- June 7, 2011 SHEP Update from Surfrider Foundation Atlanta Chapter
- January 25, 2011 City of Tybee Public Comment Letter (PDF)
- January 24, 2011 Surfrider Foundation Atlanta Chapter Public Comment Letter (PDF)
PROPOSED SHEP TIMELINE
Following is the latest potential schedule for the Savannah Harbor Deepening Project set out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
- 2013 – Georgia officials hope to start dredging in 2013.
- August 2012 – Chief of Engineers report filed;
- September 2012 – Report is reviewed by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works;
- November 2012 – Project is reviewed by Office of Management and Budget;
- November 2012 – When all studies are finalized, Assistant Secretary of Army issues a Record of Decision;
- February 2013 – Project partnership agreement executed between Corps and Local Sponsor(s);
- May 2013 – First construction contract awarded.
NEWS ALERTS FOR SAVANNAH HARBOR EXPANSION PROJECT
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PROJECT INFORMATION You can find out more by reading the following project documents:
WHAT CAN I DO
- Stay tuned. No word yet on how current settlement will affect the project.
Provide comments to the Corps of Engineer prior to the public comment period ending on January 25, 2010. A sample letter is below.
VIA EMAIL to CESAS-PD@usace.army.mil
[Organization or Individual Name and Address]
Mr. William Bailey
US Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District
100 W. Oglethorpe Ave.
Savannah GA 31401-3640
Dear Mr. Bailey,
I am writing to express opposition to certain locations planned for the deposit of dredge material from the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) identifies the following placement sites, among others, for dredge materials (reference Draft EIS pages 3-22 through 3-26):
- The placement of the dredge material at area described as MLW 200 would create a berm about 200 feet wide and 3,200 feet long directly in front the current beach.
- The placement of the dredge material at the area described as MLW 500 would extend from the North Jetty southward for 11,000 feet (2 miles). The dredge material would be placed 500 feet from the beach for the length of the placement site.
- The placement of the dredge material at the area described as ERDC Nearshore would extend seaward from Tybee Island below the MLW contour in the nearshore area. At total capacity, the top elevation of the placement site would be -4 feet so as not to interfere with boaters but such placement would allow potential for movement of material towards the Tybee Island shoreline by wave action. (It is important to note that this location is already reserved as a borrow site for Tybee’s Island’s beach renourishment program.)
The placement of this material at MLW 200, MLW 500, and ERDC Nearshore would:
- Decrease the natural wave energy in these locations and eliminate natural sources of recreation for the public.
- Have potential safety implications on swimmers, surfers, fishermen, lifeguards, and others.
- Increase environmental and ecological impact in sensitive onshore and nearshore areas, including from dredging materials washing up on beaches.
- Produce a negative economic impact on the Tybee Island due to reduced tourism.
In addition, the placement of this material at the ERDC Nearshore location could contaminate sand reserved for Tybee Island’s beach renourishment program.
The placement of dredge materials at MLW 200, MLW 500 and the ERDC Nearshore locations is not necessary for SHEP to move forward. Alternative, more suitable sites should be used. The Corps of Engineers should conduct additional studies and collect additional data prior to selecting any location for depositing dredge materials.