ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

A federal agency studying locations for a deep-water Alaska port that could assist Arctic Ocean-bound vessels says it will offer a preliminary recommendation the first week of March.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is studying 19 different configurations for a deep-water harbor or harbors in western Alaska.

Project manager Lorraine Cordova says the Alaska office has made its choice and is waiting for Corps officials in Washington, D.C. to sign off.

Officials in Washington wanted a review of ship traffic into Nome before making a decision.

Nome and another Seward Peninsula location, Port Clarence, are leading candidates for deep-water harbor facilities.

The lack of a deep-water harbor along Alaska's north and west coasts has been a point of concern as climate warming has made Arctic waters more accessible.