Institute for Water Resources

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Posted 3/12/2015

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ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA. The Institute for Water Resources (IWR) staff members Mark Pointon, Thomas Verna, and Alexandra Scrimgeour taught a week-long USACE Dredging Fundamentals course in Savannah, GA, February 2-6, 2015. The class included thirty students from the Savannah District who are associated with the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) and other district navigation & dredging activities.

As part of the training, everything from the history of dredging, to types of dredges, and dredging contracts are covered. Through lectures, group discussions, examinations, and a field trip, the course teaches the student fundamental dredging theory and accepted dredging practices in addition to basic information on how Corps dredging projects are engineered, managed, and maintained. A brief overview of dredge estimating, dredging safety, hydrographic surveys, and dredging contract administration with a focus on quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) are also provided.

Always a highlight of the Dredging Fundamentals course is the technical tour and course participants had the opportunity to visit Savannah Harbor’s dredged material containment areas (DMCA), generally known as a dredged material disposal or placement area. One key aspect of managing DMCAs involves coordinating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Corps works with the Service to ensure placement areas meet requirements to support bird nesting and wildlife habitat, such as maintaining a specified acreage of pond water. The students got to see the part of the placement area with an 8-acre bird island, a sanctuary for thousands of shorebirds. The field trips in the courses are designed to help the student understand the material taught in the classroom.

"The students appreciated the opportunity to take this course in Savannah and tailored for the SHEP. The opportunity to go in the field and visit placement areas was very well received," said Mark Pointon, course instructor from IWR.

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