U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Dredging Operations Technical Support

Beneficial Uses of Dredged Sediment

Discover, learn, and grow beneficial uses of dredged sediment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers routinely creates value from dredged sediments though beneficial uses such as beach nourishment, enhancing wetland habitat, and brownfield reconstruction. Using dredged sediment beneficially is an important component of USACE’s dredged material management strategy, significantly reducing disposal requirements. With interest in beneficial use of dredged sediments at an all-time high, the timing is ripe to increase beneficial use.

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What is beneficial use of dredged sediment?

Beneficial uses are defined as “productive and positive uses of dredged material, which cover broad use categories ranging from fish and wildlife habitat development, to human recreation, to industrial/commercial uses” (USACE Beneficial Uses of Dredged Material, Engineer Manual 1110-2-5026).


  • Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Bay, TX
    Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Bay, TX 1 – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
  • Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Bay, TX
    Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Bay, TX 2 – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
  • Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Bay, TX
    Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Bay, TX 3 – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
  • Drake Island, Apalachicola Bay, FL
    Drake Island, Apalachicola Bay, FL 1 – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
  • Drake Island, Apalachicola Bay, FL
    Drake Island, Apalachicola Bay, FL 2 - Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
  • Miller Sands, Columbia River, OR - Marsh
    Miller Sands Island, Columbia River, OR – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
  • Miller Sands, Columbia River, OR - Upland
    Miller Sands Island, Columbia River, OR - Upland Habitat Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane

Over 200 million cubic yards of material is dredged annually from the bottom of federally-constructed and maintained navigation channels to maintain safe passage in navigation channels for vessels. Overall, about 10-15% of dredged material requires special handling, while the remaining 85% is available for beneficial use. Of this available sediment, approximately 30-35% is currently used beneficially to deliver environmental, economic, and social benefits.

Beneficial Use Guidance and Examples


Success Stories

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Success story vignettes describe a variety of projects focused on the beneficial use of dredged sediment. The projects include unique one-offs, projects occurring over multiple years, as well as long-term projects. The stories describe in more detail why the project exists, who is involved, the benefits, and monitoring. Each story includes a project description and access to resources such as images, reports and journal articles, workshops, presentations, and videos. The central idea is to provide a wide variety of successfully completed beneficial use projects, while the take home point is to realize the potential value of dredged sediments.


Beneficial Use Fact Sheets and Manual

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Strategic Enablers for Increasing Sediment Beneficial Use

(pdf) 445 KB

USACE routinely creates value from dredged sediments though beneficial uses such as beach nourishment, enhancing wetland habitat, and brownfield reconstruction. Using dredged sediment beneficially is an important component of USACE’s dredged material management strategy, significantly reducing disposal requirements.

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Innovation Supporting Beneficial Use

(pdf) 277 KB

USACE has advanced BU of sediment through a sustained commitment to innovation, over more than 40 years, across multiple research programs. Over this period, USACE has invested $100s of millions to advance the science and technology applied to sediment management, including $10s millions on BU.

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Beneficial Uses of Dredged Material, USACE Engineer Manual

(pdf) 5,350 KB

This manual provides guidance for planning, designing, developing, and managing dredged material for beneficial uses, incorporating ecological concepts and engineering designs with biological, economical, and social feasibility.

Connect with a beneficial use content strategist

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U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Environmental Laboratory, Vicksburg, MS