SHEP Progression

CSS Georgia Recovery & Conservation  Dial Cordy, Panamerican, Navy Began January 2015, completed in January 2022 100%
Outer Harbor Dredging  Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company  Began September 2015, complete March 2018  100%
Dissolved Oxygen Injection System CDM Constructors Inc. February 2016 100%
Raw Water Storage Impoundment  Thalle Construction Company Began March 2016; complete June 2018 100%
First Dike Raising Herve Cody Construction Began May 2016; complete July 2017 100%
Sediment Basin Tidegate Removal  De Moya/Continental Joint Venture  Began Nov. 2016; complete Dec. 2017  100%
Freshwater Wetlands Acquisition N/A Deed Transferred to USFWS June 2017 100%
McCoy's Cut Area Work Continental Heavy Civil Corporation Began July 2018, complete April 2020 100%
Inner Harbor Dredging Norfolk Dredging Co. & Weeks Marine Began September 29, 2019, complete March 2022 100%
Marsh Restoration Michels Corporation Completed in August 2022 100%
Sediment Basin Weir & Fill Design phase     
Boat Ramp on Hutchinson Island Design phase     
Fish Passage  Design phase     

Meet the Faces Behind the Project

Troy Funk is the USACE resident engineer assigned to the mega Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Funk is responsible for the contract administration and quality assurance of the construction contracts associated with the project.
Burton “Burt” Moore, Chief of the Dredging Section of the Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, surveys the beach renourishment at Tybee Island, Georgia. Moore oversees the work to repair beach erosion caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma in 2016 and 2017. Renourishing the beach will help mitigate damage from future storms striking the small Georgia resort town. The Corps of Engineers awarded the work contract to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company. Tybee Island sits adjacent to the Savannah harbor shipping channel, a federal navigation project. The Corps of Engineers continues its Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to deepen the entire harbor from its current 42-foot depth to 47 feet. Dredging crews completed the outer harbor, also known as the outer channel, deepening in the spring of 2018. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Billy Birdwell.) (Photos taken on April 11, 2018.)
Mississippi native and Auburn University Alumni Laura "Beth" Williams is one of the faces working behind the scenes on the Corps' $973 million Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.
Georgia Tech grad Tracy Hendren named to senior position with the Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah. Will oversee engineering of massive $973 million deepening of Savannah’s harbor.
With his perma-grin and easy going attitude, you’d never guess Spencer Davis carries the weight of a $973 million megaproject on his mind.

Outer Harbor Dredging

Status: Complete. The $134.5 million contract was executed by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company of Oak Brook, Illinois
: The Dredge Alaska moved into the Atlantic Ocean Sept. 10, 2015 to begin deepening the harbor from its current 42-foot depth to 47 feet (slightly deeper in the ocean end of the harbor). The contract covers extending the entrance channel by 7 miles, and deepening of the outer harbor from approximately Fort Pulaski for 18.5 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Dredging the outer harbor is the first step to deepening the entire 40-mile shipping channel and harbor from deep ocean to the Georgia Ports Authority terminal in Garden City. 
Inner Harbor Dredging

Status: First of two contracts awarded to Norfolk Dredging Company completed in August 2021; Second contract awarded to Weeks Marine in November 2019 and work is approximately 94% completed.

Summary: The SHEP will deepen the Savannah harbor and the associated shipping channel from an authorized depth of 42 feet to 47 feet. This deepening will allow larger, more efficient container vessels to use the East Coast’s second busiest container harbor with fewer weight and tidal restrictions. Inner harbor work will also include constructing three bend wideners and two meeting areas, and enlarging the Kings Island Turning Basin at the Garden City Terminal.  

CSS Georgia Recovery Effort

Status: Recovery and conversation is completed. Data collection contract was awarded to Dial Cordy and Associates of Jacksonville, Florida. Panamerican Consultants of Memphis, Tennessee conducted field work. The U.S. Navy, which owns the vessel, recovered major pieces of the ironclad. Conservation was completed by Texas A&M University’s Conservation Research Laboratory.
: The remains of the CSS Georgia, a Confederate ship, previously rested on the bottom of the Savannah River adjacent to the shipping channel, near Old Fort Jackson. The CSS Georgia’s location impeded the channel expansion. Construction began in January 2015 when archaeologists mobilized for the first contract on the recovery of the CSS Georgia ironclad. The Corps of Engineers removed the remains from their location to protect them from further damage. Archeologists recovered more than 30,000 artifacts, most of which are related to the mechanics of the vessel. The final batches of conserved artifacts were sent to the U.S. Navy in December 2021.
Dissolved Oxygen Injection System 

Status: Awarded $99.6 million contract to CDM Constructors Inc. of Maitland, Florida. Both of the plants are completed and testing process was completed in September 2020.

Summary: In July 2015, the Savannah District awarded a contract to begin building dissolved oxygen injection system systems upstream on Plant McIntosh and downstream of Hutchinson Island. The plants were completed and accepted in November 2019. The process will remove water from the river, inject it with oxygen inside 12, two-story devices called Speece cones, and return the water back to the river. These devices will maintain the level of dissolved oxygen in the harbor at the pre-SHEP 47’ deepening level.  
Raw Water Storage Impoundment

Status: Complete. The $44.1 million contract was executed by Thalle Construction Company of Hillsborough, North Carolina, and began operation in June 2018.

Summary: Construction on the raw water storage impoundment completed June 2018. The impoundment, a small reservoir, provides an additional resource of fresh water that may be needed when the Savannah River experiences drought conditions at extremely high tides in hot weather. Use of the impoundment during these rare occurrences ensures water quality remains unchanged. During normal operations, water will continue to be drawn from Abercorn Creek and will bypass the impoundment. During low river flows and high tides, pumping from Abercorn Creek will stop and water will be drawn from the impoundment until tides recede.

Flow Re-routing 

Status: Sediment Basin Tidegate Removal (Package 1), was awarded to and completed in May 2018 by De Moya/Continental Joint Venture for $21.3 million; McCoy's Cut Diversion Structure and Cut Closure contract (Package 2) was awarded to and completed in May 2020 by the Continental Heavy Civil Corporation for $21.9 million.

Summary: The 47-foot plan includes several modifications to the freshwater flows in the Middle and Back River. The first project of the Flow Re-Routing work was the removal of the old Corps Tidegate structure and widening of the Back River at that location. This was completed in May 2018. The second project was the construction of the freshwater diversion structure at McCoy’s Cut and the closure of two (2) cuts (McCoombs and Rifle) to prevent saltwater from getting into the Back and Middle Rivers and protect the freshwater wetlands.

The third project is the construction of a submerged rock weir and a Broadberm of sediment upstream of the weir to assist with re-direction of the saltwater in the deepened channel up the main channel (Front River). This project is currently in design and tentatively scheduled for award in FY23.

As art of the comprehensive mitigation plan for the SHEP, these changes will re-direct the flow of saltwater to significantly reduce the amount of impacts to freshwater wetlands, which was determined the highest priority wetland natural resource in the Savannah River Basin. The flow re-routing plan will direct more freshwater into the Back and Middle River area on the South Carolina side of the river.

Flow re-routing would reduce salinity in 740 acres of salt marsh, converting it to brackish marsh (making it less salty, but not exceeding four parts per thousand of salinity). Studies show the wetlands will retain the same functional value, thus constituting “no net loss” of wetlands.

New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam Fish Passage

Award Status: Not advertised

Summary: The harbor deepening is expected to adversely impact habitat for one endangered species, the shortnose sturgeon. Harbor deepening would allow additional saltwater to enter the harbor and travel further upstream into areas currently used by this species. The increased salinity would reduce the suitability of some of these areas. To compensate for those impacts, the project includes construction of a fish passageway to enable fish to gain access upstream of where the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam is currently located. This passage would restore access to historical spawning grounds for the shortnose sturgeon and other species.
Freshwater Wetlands AcquisitionFreshwater Wetlands Acquisition

Status: Complete - Deed Transferred to USFWS June 2017

Summary: This feature involved the Georgia Department of Transportation acquiring the 2,080-acre property on Abercorn Island and transferring the to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The transfer of the Abercorn Island tract secures preservation of a total of 2,256 acres of freshwater wetlands – the most dynamic and beneficial kind of wetland in the coastal region. The two tracts slightly exceed SHEP’s requirement to acquire and preserve 2,245 acres of wetlands.