SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Exactly one month from the day he took command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, Col. Thomas J. Tickner paid a visit to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and took a survey vessel tour of the Savannah River, Aug. 19.
Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) briefed Tickner on the function and operation of the refuge as a critical source of habitat within the Savannah River basin. FWS team members Chuck Hayes, supervisory wildlife biologist; Russ Webb, refuge manager, and Jane Griess, project leader; all spoke with Tickner while giving him a tour of the refuge.
Established in 1927, the refuge provides more than 29,000 acres of freshwater marshes, tidal rivers and bottomland hardwood habitat. The Corps has performed several projects for the refuge, including a series of freshwater control structures completed in 2010. These structures have greatly improved the process for wildlife managers to control the flow of fresh water into various impoundements within the refuge. During the tour, Tickner got an up-close look at these structures and more.
As a federal partner, the Corps often consults with the FWS when making water management decisions affecting the Savannah River Basin. The FWS is also a cooperating federal agency in the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.
Following the refuge visit, Tickner boarded the survey vessel "Florida" and joined members of the Savannah District staff for a boat tour of the Savannah river. The Savannah District recently procured the vessel from its sister district in Jacksonville, Fla. Along the tour, district leaders and staff spoke with Tickner about the Corps' role in operating and maintaining the Savannah shipping channel and the associated dredge disposal areas.
View photos from the wildlife refuge and the harbor tour on the Savannah District's official Flickr page via the links below:
PHOTOS: Col. Tickner visits Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
PHOTOS: Col. Tickner tours Savannah harbor