The Corps of Engineers involvement in navigation projects dates to the early days of the United States, when rivers and waterways were the primary paths of commerce in the new country. The system of rivers, lakes, harbors and waterways maintained by the Corps of Engineers remains one of the most important parts of the nation's transportation system. The Corps maintains the Nation's waterways as a safe, reliable, and economically efficient navigation system.
The Corps 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 Corps operates and maintains 25,000 miles of navigable channels and 196 commercial lock and dam sites and is responsible for ports and waterways in 41 states.
In partnership with local port authorities, Corps personnel oversee dredging and construction projects at hundreds of ports and harbors at an average annual cost of nearly $1.5 billion. The Corps dredges nearly 300 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.
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