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

Beneficial Uses of Dredged Sediment

USACE Federally Sponsored Programs & Initiatives

Center for Contaminated Sediments (CCS) Dredging Innovations Group (DIG) Dredging Operations and Environmental Research (DOER) Dredging Operations Technical Support Program (DOTS) Engineering With Nature (EWN) Thin Layer Placement of Dredged Sediment (TLP) Threatened and Endangered Species Team (TEST)

USACE Dredge Related Databases

Biota-Sediment Accumulation Factor Database (BSAF) Engineering With Nature ProMap (EWN ProMAP) Environmental Effects & Dredging and Disposal (E2D2) Environmental Residue Effects Database (ERED) Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site Database (ODMDS)

Main USACE Websites

US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)
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    Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Bay, TX 1 – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
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    Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Bay, TX 2 – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
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    Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Bay, TX 3 – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
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    Drake Island, Apalachicola Bay, FL 1 – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
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    Drake Island, Apalachicola Bay, FL 2 - Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
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    Miller Sands Island, Columbia River, OR – Marsh Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
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    Miller Sands Island, Columbia River, OR - Upland Habitat Development – Photo Credit Nathan Beane
USACE / ERDC / EL / DOTS / BU

Beneficial Uses of Dredged Sediment

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for maintaining and improving nearly 25,000 miles of inland and intracoastal waterways, coastal channels, and over 400 ports, harbors, and turning basins throughout the United States. To maintain safe and navigable waterways, dredging activities excavate several hundred million cubic yards of shoaled sediment each year. In the past, dredge operations often relied on upland confined disposal facilities or other disposal sites located in the oceans, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and estuaries, for placement of dredged sediment. Many dredged sediment containment facilities in the United States now have reduced storage capacities and there is a reduction in aquatic disposal alternatives. Identifying new dredged sediment placement sites poses technical challenges and regulatory concerns due to potential environmental impacts and competing land uses.

An alternative approach, utilize dredged sediments as a resource material in beneficial ways to provide environmental, economic, and social benefits. Due to the growing scientific knowledge and public awareness of using dredged sediment as a valuable resource, beneficial use of dredged sediment has become a viable alternative to traditional "dredge and dispose" methods for many projects. Prior to 1970, beneficial uses typically included creating or expanding land for airports, ports, residential, or commercial development. Today, a variety project needs and innovative ideas result in many types of beneficial uses of dredged sediment.