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      Officials provide update on harbor deepening

      ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (AP) -- A draft environmental impact statement on the $300 million deepening of the Charleston Harbor shipping channel is expected to be ready in about 18 months.

      Lt. Col. Ed Chamberlayne of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says a final report of the corps' recommendations for the deepening should be complete in three years. He provided the update Monday at the South Carolina International Trade Conference on the Isle of Palms.

      Chamberlayne says the corps has recently issued almost $2 million worth of contracts to study everything from harbor sediments to marine life.

      Coastal Carolina University researchers next month begin mapping cultural and historic resources that would have to be protected in the deepening. The University of South Carolina recently finished mapping Civil War wrecks and artifacts in the harbor.

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