For almost two centuries the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has had the mission of maintaining the Savannah River.
Today that task means around-the-clock work to keep massive ships moving in and out of the harbor.
In 1829, the Corps of Engineers was assigned to “Savannah Station,” and surveyed a river that was only about 5 feet deep. Now, through missions like the Savannah Harbor Federal Navigation Project, the Savannah District maintains the channel to a depth of 42 feet.
Keeping the shipping channel and the harbor at that prescribed depth requires maintenance dredging. This dredging requires removing silt from the almost 2 mile-long entrance channel and the over 21 mile-long inner harbor.
It also includes the channel wideners where ships pull over to allow other ships to sail past and the turning basin where ships get turned around.
More than seven million cubic yards of sediments (sand, silt and clay) are removed from Savannah Harbor annually via maintenance dredging.
It’s a dirty job but an essential part of maintaining safe navigation for ships transiting the waterway.