From our bustling ports and harbors to our smooth, sand beaches, our
nation's coasts are a testament to the economic vitality and natural
beauty of America. Our coasts are also home to fragile ecosystems hosting
many rare, threatened and endangered species.
The Corps undertakes numerous activities each year that are designed
to protect our coasts from storms
and development and to restore
their valuable ecosystems. These efforts include regional sediment
management, beach nourishment and the construction of shore protection
The Corps also plays a key role in keeping our ports
and harbors running smoothly by dredging to maintain channel depths
at more than 900 harbors. In addition, the Corps is focused on modernizing
and upgrading the nation's ports and harbors to keep pace with growing
The Corps is committed to working with a wide range of community, environmental,
business and other groups to ensure that the projects it undertakes
not only protect the environment but, whenever possible, enhance it.
An excellent example is the dredging of Oakland Harbor. Over the years,
the Corps has partnered with a number of organizations to ensure that
this project, which is so vital to the area's economy, also benefits
As a major port of call for container ships bringing consumer and other
goods in and out of the United States, the Oakland Harbor plays a crucial
role in the nation's economy. However, like many other U.S. harbors,
its role is in jeopardy because it is not deep enough to accommodate
the larger container ships coming into the world's fleet. Already some
ships calling at the harbor have to carry lighter loads and depend upon
tides to enter and exit.
To address this problem, the Corps has undertaken an extensive dredging
project that will deepen the harbor to 50 feet, which will eliminate
shipping restrictions and serve as a boon to the economy of the Bay
Area and the nation.
The Corps also recognized an opportunity to use the project to benefit
the environment by restoring the nearby Sonoma Baylands wetlands. Using
dredge material from the harbor project the Corps constructed a 338
acre marsh, increasing the acreage of suitable habitat for two endangered
species, the salt marsh harvest mouse and the California clapper rail.
As part of its overall balancing efforts, the Corps also is implementing
a regional, watershed approach to addressing
coasts that takes into consideration nearby, related water resources
such as rivers, lakes and wetlands.