Happy New Year from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District. We are reflecting on our achievements during the past year and are building excitement to meet the challenges of the New Year. Last year was busy, challenging and ultimately rewarding for the district.

We made it through the partial government shutdown, deployed seven volunteers to Afghanistan, awarded $164 million dollars worth of contracts to support the missions of the Corps and our customers, released the draft feasibility report and environmental assessment for Edisto Beach, awarded a contract for the renourishment of Folly Beach, and continued to make significant progress on the feasibility study for Charleston Harbor, known as Post 45.

As we look ahead to 2014, the district has many exciting things to share that affect the Lowcountry, South Carolina and the nation. Our teams of dedicated engineers, scientists and other professionals have been busy at work ensuring our tax dollars are being used wisely to protect and enhance our precious natural resources and promote a healthy economy.

Our highest profile project, Post 45, cost-shared with the S. C. State Ports Authority, navigated 2013 successfully, avoiding cost and schedule increases sometimes associated with complex efforts of this magnitude.

In 2014, the Post 45 study will continue to build on the strong foundation laid during our streamlining process of 2012, which significantly reduced both the time and cost to complete the study.

This summer, we will be presenting our draft integrated feasibility study and environmental impact statement for public review and comment.

After considering input from the public, resource agencies and other stakeholders, we will finalize the report in the summer of 2015 and present our recommendation to Congress for authorization to construct the project.

Assuming our recommendation involves a deeper navigation channel, there is still work to do after congressional authorization, should that take place. We continue to be receptive to opportunities to improve upon our process where feasible.

In all of this, the S. C. State Ports Authority is an excellent sponsor and cost-share partner, and we look forward to continuing the momentum we have experienced.

The district recently started another eagerly anticipated project, the renourishment of Folly Beach. You may have already noticed equipment working offshore. Shortly, you will see some of the 1.4 million cubic yards of sand being placed on the beach. If you have never seen this process, it is fascinating to watch and you may even find some unusual shells.

The district realizes the work may cause some temporary inconveniences, but it will reduce the risk of future storm-related damage. Also on the shore protection front, we are nearing completion of the feasibility study for Edisto Beach.

If authorized for construction, this project would similarly reduce the risk to life and infrastructure for our neighbors to the south.

Our regulatory division anticipates another busy year as well. Planning and review are already under way for the Boeing expansion and the Palmetto Railways Intermodal Container Transfer Facility.

As always, our regulatory mission is to protect the nation's aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions.

I would like to wish you a Happy New Year.

Thank you for allowing us to serve you as we strive to provide solutions to the nation's water resource challenges in South Carolina.

John Litz

Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

Commanding the Charleston

District of the Corps of Engineers

Hagood Avenue