USA: FY13 Civil Works Budget Released

The President’s fiscal year 2013 (FY13) Civil Works budget, released yesterday, contains more than $66 million for projects, analyses, and operations and maintenance in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. The President included the funds for the Savannah district in a total civil works request of $4.731 billion he sent to Congress.

The fiscal 2013 Civil Works budget supports the Administration’s priorities through targeted investments in the nation’s infrastructure and environmental protection and enhancement.

The budget contains $2.8 million in the Investigations Appropriation for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The funding will further the harbor deepening pre-construction engineering and environmental analyses leading to a “Record of Decision,” which completes the Corps’ approval process.

Last week, the expansion project also received $2.5 million in federal funding following the release of the Corps’ Headquarters work plan for fiscal year 2012 appropriations to the Army Civil Works program.

The Corps released a draft General Re-Evaluation Report and Environmental Impact Statement on Nov. 15, 2010, which proposes to deepen the Savannah Harbor from its current 42-foot depth down to a maximum depth of 48 feet. The report described the Corps’ extensive analysis of the engineering alternatives, environmental impacts, and economic costs and benefits of deepening the Savannah Harbor and shipping channel. A final report will be provided for public review this spring.

The President’s budget also supports ongoing operations and maintenance dredging and related actions for the Savannah Harbor ($22 million) and Brunswick Harbor ($3 million), which primarily provide safe and efficient passage for ships moving goods into and out of the country. An additional appropriation of $8.8 million will be used for disposal area construction for continuing operations and maintenance efforts to support the Savannah Harbor.

In addition, the budget contains $27.9 million for the continued operations and maintenance of the district’s three multi-purpose dams and lakes along the upper Savannah River Basin. The dams generate 1.3 million megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy each year, as well as provide flood risk management, water supply serving 29 communities including fresh water flows to the city of Savannah and Jasper-Beaufort Water and Sewer Authority, and protection to fish and wildlife. Encompassing more than 200,000 acres of land and water, the lakes also provide outdoor recreation opportunities to 15.5 million visitors annually.

The $27.9 million allocation for the dams and lakes included more than $9.9 million for operations and maintenance of the Hartwell Dam and Lake Project near Hartwell, Ga., and Anderson, S.C. on the upper Savannah River. The J. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake near Augusta, Ga., received nearly $9.5 million for Operations & Maintenance of the project.

The Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake project near Elberton, Ga., received $8.4 million for Operations & Maintenance of the project. The construction appropriation funds an additional $1 million for the first year of the five year environmental monitoring requirement to operate the pump back units inside the dam.

Final amounts of funding for all projects in the Savannah District will depend on the appropriations actions taken by the U.S. Congress.

The Savannah District also receives funds from other parts of the President’s budget that support a multi-million dollar construction program for soldiers and airmen in Georgia and North Carolina.

[mappress]

Dredging Today Staff, February 14, 2012

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