Inland Harbors: The Corps of Engineers Should Assess Existing Capabilities to Better Inform Dredging Decisions, Report to Congressional Committees   [open pdf - 4MB]

"Inland ports on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Baton Rouge enable shippers to move millions of tons of agricultural and other bulk commodities. However, these ports' harbors can accumulate sediment that reduces their depth, width, and length, making it difficult for vessels to move. To address this, the Corps routinely dredges the harbors. Congress included a provision in statute for GAO [Government Accountability Office] to review dredging issues for ports in this region. This report addresses: (1) freight traffic of selected ports since 2010; (2) stakeholders' views on any challenges presented by the current federal funding approach to dredging inland harbors; and (3) the benefits and challenges of alternative options to fund dredging. GAO reviewed Corps' 2010--2015 port traffic data for 13 of 18 inland ports in the region. Data for 2015 were the most recent available. GAO also interviewed Corps officials, industry stakeholders, and officials from 11 of 13 ports selected to include a range in terms of cargo handled, location, and dredging history. GAO conducted a literature search and interviewed 52 industry, port, and other stakeholders and experts about alternative options to fund dredging. The Corps should inform Congress whether it can adapt its existing tools to address factors for allocating funds from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and the resources needed to do so. The agency concurred with the recommendation, with comment, and provided technical comments that were incorporated, as appropriate."

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Public Domain
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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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