PORTSMOUTH - Despite government shutdown, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was on the job Wednesday - dredging and doing oyster reef restoration at Hoffler Creek Wildlife Foundation and Refuge in Portsmouth.

That work goes on while permits for hundreds of other projects are on hold. On Tuesday, the Corps furloughed 48 workers at the Norfolk office. Those workers are environmental scientists and administrative support staff working in the regulatory branch.

Construction began Oct. 7 on the first sanctuary reef in Elizabeth River and some of its tributaries. Crews are using 39,000 cubic yards of shells taken from the James River.

By the end of the project, 16 acres of sanctuary reefs will have been created.

This is all part of the Craney Island Eastward Expansion projectdesigned to help the Hampton Roads ports.

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