Savannah River panel wants to reduce dredging depth

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COLUMBIA — A panel created to represent South Carolina’s interests in the Savannah River moved Tuesday to set limits on a dredging project, moves that officials said would both save money and protect wildlife.

Among the recommendations approved by the Savannah River Maritime Commission is a proposal to limit dredging of the river to 45 feet.

Going to that depth, instead of the 47 feet currently planned, would allow the project to proceed without additional federal funding and be safer for fish in the area, according to an attorney who advises the commission.

The $650 million deepening project will help Georgia handle the larger ships that will come calling once the Panama Canal is widened in three years.

The panel is sending its recommendation on to the Georgia Ports Authority. A spokesman for that agency did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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