Home
This Title All WIREs
WIREs RSS Feed
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Water
Impact Factor: 4.412

New horizons for dredging research: The ecology and politics of harbor deepening in the southeastern United States

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

Abstract Harbor deepening projects in the southeastern United States illuminate a global phenomenon: navigable rivers and coastal estuaries have been dredged to new depths as port authorities and governments compete to accommodate and benefit from new generations of massive oceangoing ships. This urbanized region has dozens of ports situated in estuaries and deltas where major rivers meet the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. It is also home to the majority of U.S. inland federal waterways, significant cargo traffic, and remarkable cultural and ecological diversity. Moving enormous volumes of underwater sediment is as much a social, economic, and political phenomenon as an intervention in hydrological and geomorphological processes. Therefore, dredging demands an analytical framework that bridges disciplines and spatial scales. Putting dredging research into conversation with scholarship on global shipping, logistics, and port development, we call for an analytical framework that draws upon political ecology and geosocial theory. We use this framework to examine large harbor deepening projects near Savannah, Jacksonville, Mobile, and New Orleans. Each project has been rationalized in terms of accommodating the megaships transiting an expanded Panama Canal and, more generally, linking local and regional economic development to global supply chains. An expanded and comparative framework reveals the geographical scale and variegated politics that characterize navigation dredging today. This article is categorized under: Human Water > Methods
Port of Mobile terminals and ship channel, crossing the shallow Mobile Bay Estuary. The proposed sediment disposal site at bottom left is intended to restore sand inputs to nearby Dauphin Island, which has experienced severe shoreline erosion over the past half century, due, in part, to the maintenance dredging of the ship channel. (Base imagery sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i‐cubed, USDA FSA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Port of Savannah terminals and ship channel approach. (Base imagery sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i‐cubed, USDA FSA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Harbor deepening projects in the southeastern United States illuminate a global phenomenon that has accelerated in recent decades: navigable rivers and coastal estuaries are being dredged to new depths as port authorities and governments compete to benefit from new generations of massive oceangoing ships. (Base imagery sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i‐cubed, USDA FSA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Lower Mississippi River ports and ship channel. The port cluster located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is one of the busiest in the world. The deepening of the Mississippi Ship Channel will occur at several locations along the 250‐mile‐long channel, but the principle dredging activities are slated for the river's terminus in the Gulf of Mexico, also the site of a large “beneficial use” project to build new land using dredged material in a rapidly eroding, sparsely inhabited area. (Map by Joshua Lewis. Base imagery sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i‐cubed, USDA FSA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Port of Jacksonville terminals and 13‐mile‐long ship channel in the St. Johns River. Recent storm events have raised questions regarding the role of the ship channel and its deepening in propagating storm surge in tidal creeks around Jacksonville. (Base imagery sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i‐cubed, USDA FSA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Browse by Topic

Engineering Water > Methods

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts