Image of U.S. Harbors
Every day thousands of vessels move people, animals, and products across the country via the nation's rivers and harbors. This water traffic is a vital component of the nation's economy. One of USACE's primary missions is to ensure that this traffic can move safely, reliably, and efficiently and with minimal impact on the environment.
USACE's primary navigation responsibilities include planning and constructing new navigation channels and locks and dams, and dredging to maintain channel depths at U.S. harbors and on inland waterways.
The Nation's coastal channels and inland waterways are part of a larger transportation network that includes 25,000 miles of navigable channels and related infrastructure maintained by USACE, as well as publicly and privately-owned marine terminals, intermodal connections, shipyards and repair facilities. USACE maintains 12,000 miles of inland and intracoastal waterway navigable channels, including 218 lock chambers at 176 sites; and 1,067 coastal, Great Lakes, and inland channels and harbors comprising 13,000 miles of channels and 23 locks. Coastal channels and inland waterways maintained by USACE support the Nation's economy, as well as contributing to both state and local government economic development, including job creation efforts.
In partnership with local port authorities, USACE personnel oversee dredging and construction projects at hundreds of ports and harbors at an average annual cost of over $1.3 billion. USACE dredges over 200 million cubic yards of material each year to keep the nation's waterways navigable. Much of this dredged material is reused for environmental restoration projects including the creation of wetlands.
For more information read our Inland Waterway Navigation brochure (pdf, 1.6 MB) and our Deep Water Ports and Harbors brochure (pdf, 1.9 MB), or the Navigation fast facts.