Construction may disrupt some waterways in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge through October 2019

Published Aug. 22, 2018


Boaters using the Savannah River, the Middle River and the Little Back River through the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge will encounter extensive construction near Rifle Cut and McCoy’s Cut during the next 13 months. Boaters are urged to remain clear from all construction equipment and to exercise extreme caution while in the construction area.


Boaters should expect multiple barges and dredging equipment in waterways designated in red on the map. Dredging will take place around the McCoy's Cut entrance at the Savannah River and in both the Back River and Middle River. Boaters may also encounter increased construction traffic on the river from south of the Houlihan Bridge through the McCoy's Cut and Rifle Cut areas.


All locations are on the Savannah River and its associated side rivers upstream of the Garden City port and other port facilities. Some of the locations are popular for fishing and observing wildlife from the water. No area is accessible by land.


The construction work is part of the environmental mitigation for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) which will ultimately deepen the harbor an additional 5 feet. The work will change the flow of certain parts of the river to increase the amount of fresh water entering the Back River to protect portions of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge from increased saltwater intrusion. In the process workers will add a diversion structure to McCoy’s Cut and the artificial waterways of McCoomb’s Cut and Rifle Cut will be permanently closed.


The public can find more information on the Savannah harbor deepening from the Savannah District’s SHEP web page.

Boaters should avoid construction equipment in the vicinity of McCoy’s Cut and Rifle Cut now through October 2019 as the Corps of Engineers reconfigures portions of the Front, Middle and Back Rivers of the Savannah River upstream of the Savannah ports. McCoomb’s Cut and Rifle Cut will be closed permanently as part of the construction. (View Map)





Billy Birdwell, Senior Public Affairs Specialist
912-677-6039 (cell)

Release no. 18-034