USACE: SHEP Storage Impoundment Progresses

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, has just released an update on the Raw Water Storage Impoundment (RWSI) construction project – an important part of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).

This aerial photo, just posted by the USACE’s Savannah District, displays construction progress on the RWSI, which currently sits at 53 percent completion.

Progress shows the impoundment berm is up to 32 inches, out of its 42 inch final elevation, the USACE said. Construction on this reservoir began in March 2016.

The SHEP will deepen the Savannah Harbor federal shipping channel from a depth of -42 feet to -47 feet. Studies demonstrate the deepening will produce substantial economic benefits for the nation by enabling larger and more heavily-loaded vessels to call on the harbor with fewer tidal delays.

Given the proximity of the shipping channel to sensitive estuarine resources, the USACE, along with its state and federal partners, conducted exhaustive engineering and environmental studies to identify the environmental impacts that would be expected from the project and ensure those impacts will be offset through mitigation.

Mitigation accounts for approximately half of the project cost.

Environmental mitigation features include installing a dissolved oxygen system; constructing a fish bypass upstream at the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam; re-routing freshwater flow in the upper harbor; preserving 2,245 acres of freshwater wetlands for the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge; and recovering remnants of the CSS Georgia civil war ironclad that rests some 40 feet below the river’s surface.