STATEMENT OF ISSUE: In 2013, the Savannah District issued 19 Department of the Army permits authorizing routine maintenance dredging, including agitation dredging, for all of the commercial berthing facilities in Savannah Harbor. These permits are scheduled to expire in early 2023 and cannot be extended beyond the 10-year life of the permits.
BACKGROUND: Agitation dredging has historically been the preferred method of berth maintenance in Savannah Harbor. It involves dragging an I-beam (or similar device) behind a tug to pull and/or resuspend accumulated sediments from the berth, or by hydraulic dredge with direct disposal into the Federal channel. During I-beam dragging, sediments are resuspended in the water column, to be swept from the berth via the tide and ultimately a portion of which would fall out into the Federal Channel.
There is the potential that private entities (i.e. the berth users) will no longer be allowed to dispose of the dredged material into the Federal Channel and/or into Corps’ dredged material containment areas (DMCAs). Private entities would then be required to find alternative methods for disposal of the dredged material, including potentially into a ocean disposal site for dredged material (ODMDS) or a private upland confined disposal area. The Georgia Ports Authority is the exception to this as they are considered a State agency and are therefore allowed to dispose of dredged material into the Corps DMCAs.
CURRENT STATUS: Regulatory Branch is currently coordinating with Operations Division on a path forward.
DISTRICT POC: Sarah Wise, Coastal Branch, Regulatory Division, (912) 652-5550