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Status: The League has submitted comments, in partnership with Southern Environmental Law Center, National Wildlife Federation, South Carolina Wildlife Federation, Center for a Sustainable Coast and Savannah Riverkeeper. Please see links below for the press release summary and the full text of our comments.
What is the issue?
Along Jasper County’s western border is the beautiful Savannah River, home of the Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge. This natural asset is being threatened by proposals that will alter the quality and integrity of the river permanently.
The Panama Canal is expanding to accommodate larger vessels, this expansion will be complete by 2014 and there are pressures to expand port capacity in our region to accommodate these larger vessels coming through the Panama Canal.
How would it affect South Carolina?
The existing Georgia Port on the Savannah River is proposing dredging 38 miles along the channel, from the ocean into the existing port. The deepening may violate the Clean Water Act and potentially compromise the Upper Floridan aquifer, a vital source of drinking water for millions of people in SC and GA. Saltwater intrusion will extend into the National Wildlife Refuge and destroy at least 330 acres of freshwater wetland. The Refuge estuary system has already suffered a loss of three-quarters (9,000 acres) of its freshwater wetland over the past century of deepenings.
What can you do about it?
The scope of the harbor dredging should be greatly reduced in light of the proposed Jasper Port. The proposed Jasper Ocean Terminal site is located along the same channel of the Savannah River, however 14 miles closer to the Atlantic. As an alternative to the Garden City Deepening, it would require a significantly shorter dredging distance, and would not pose the same threat to the estuary habitat.
Encourage your elected officials to press for timely progress on the Jasper Port. Contact Andrea (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get on our Savannah Harbor email list, to receive all of the latest developments with the harbor dredging project.
- The Jasper Ocean Terminal would bring much needed economic investment to Jasper County and other counties along the well known “corridor of shame.” The threat to our Upper Floridan Aquifer would be greatly reduced, the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and its surrounding estuary would remain intact with its existing acreage of freshwater wetland. The federally endangered shortnose sturgeon would preserve its existing habitat on the Savannah River.
- A valuable source of our drinking water is likely to experience saltwater intrusion. The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge will lose at least 330 acres of freshwater wetland. 300 foot industrial cones will dot the landscape of the Savannah River starting north of the Talmadge Bridge. The Jasper Port will likely not be built, primarily thanks to the significant burden of dredge spoils added to the Jasper site by this new dredging (25% of all new dredge spoils are allocated to the Jasper site). Jasper County will continue to lack primary job investment that is so desperately needed.
Photo: Flight provided by Southwings
Related ArticlesPress Release -- Comments on Savannah Harbor Dredging
CCL Savannah Harbor Comments to Corps of Engineers
Exhibit to our Comments