Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The original intent of this paper was to examine the role of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and their monopolistic hold on the dredging industry in the United States. How did the Corps of Engineers become the experts in this maritime environment? Why did not the Navy acquire this marine related related activity? to the naive observer, it may seem more logical to have this aspect of marine activity in the hands of the United States Navy, or even the United States Coast Guard. To have this seemingly marine activity under the control of the U.S. Army seems as preposterous an idea as Adolf Hitler owning 8,960 acres of valuable land in Colorado. Both facts, however, are true. The purpose was to trace the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and follow their progression as America's dredgers. This paper trial led to the discovery of twenty-nine Public Laws, five Executive Orders, three Federal Policies as well as numerous states having their own rules and regulations regarding dredging activity. The milestone legislation however was Public Law 95-269 of April 26, 1978. This act changed the entire organization of the dredging program within the Corps of Engineers, and was the turning point where the Corps ceased being the dredgers and became the managers of the dredging industry. Thus, this has developed into a two part paper. The first section will follow the evolution of the United States Army Corps of Engineers from its founding to its monopolistic stronghold on the dredging industry. The second section will examine the decade since the passage of Public Law 95-269. This section will review the legislative history which led to the enactment of the law, the reduction of the Corps' dredging plant, the growth of the private sector dredging plant, and the outlook for both the Corps and industry in the dredging business.