South Atlantic Water Science Center - Georgia Office
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Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) monitoring
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been requested by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)-Savannah District to install and operate a hydrologic and water-quality monitoring network within the Savannah River estuary starting in October 2013 in support of the expected Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The intent of the SHEP is to deepen the shipping channel by 5 feet to a new depth of 47 feet, which would allow super-cargo container ships to use the Port of Savannah. After years of monitoring and analyses by a diverse group of Federal, State, and local stakeholders, the primary concern about the project is the consequent potential for increased salinity encroachment, which may damage fragile ecosystems, threaten public water intakes, and decrease the dissolved oxygen levels within the Savannah River.
The University of Georgia Center for Geospatial Research has developed a web portal that posts the monitoring data and other information about the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project . This site offers descriptions of the monitoring elements, maps showing real-time data, and links to progress reports for the various components of the monitoring program.
SHEP Monitoring Network
The hydrologic monitoring is designed to occur in three phases of channel construction: a 1-year pre-construction phase, a 4-year construction phase, and a 10-year post-construction phase. A subset of the proposed locations would continue to be operated well beyond the project timeframe. Additionally, a chloride warning network will be installed to protect the public drinking-water intakes in the upper Savannah River estuary. All data will be available in real-time on the USGS National Water Information System Web Interface (NWISWeb; http://waterdata.usgs.gov) and will also be provided to the SHEP database managed by the USACE for frequent modeling updates.