Beneficial Uses of Dredged Sediment

US Army Corps of Engineers

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)

Regional Beneficial Use Efforts

contact us links

US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Regional Sediment Management (RSM)

The USACE RSM program addresses sediment issues and supports sustainable solutions to meet the needs across the Corps missions including Navigation and Dredging, Coastal and Flood Risk Management, and Ecosystem Restoration while also supporting emergency management operations. RSM also engages with other Federal and non-Federal agencies, academia, local stakeholders and partners, and non-governmental organizations to work collaboratively to improve the management and use of sediments. The goal is to create short-term and lifecycle economic savings while increasing environmental and social benefits through adaptive management of sediments from a regional perspective. Benefits of the RSM approach are reduced lifecycle costs, improved partnerships, improved regional and project sediment management, and improved environmental stewardship.

Sediment Management Viewer: This interactive geospatial map viewer highlights beneficial use projects mined from the USACE Institute for Water Resources (IWR) Navigation Data Center’s Dredging Information System (DIS).

Beneficial Use of Dredge Material Pilot Program

Section 1122 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 requires the USACE establish a pilot program to recommend ten projects for the beneficial use of dredged material. In response to a Federal Register Notice issued on February 9, 2018, the USACE received 95 proposals for beneficial use of dredged material. Those 95 proposals were evaluated by a team of subject matter experts. Based on criteria contained in Section 1122, ten projects were selected as having a high likelihood of delivering environmental, economic, and social benefits described in the proposals, and exhibit geographic diversity.

Announcement of the Selection of the Ten Pilot Projects Pursuant to Section 1122 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, Beneficial Use of Dredged Material
Engineering With Nature (EWN)

The USACE EWN Initiative enables more sustainable delivery of economic, social, and environmental benefits associated with water resources infrastructure. EWN is the intentional alignment of natural and engineering processes to efficiently and sustainably deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits through collaborative processes. EWN is a cross-cutting program of activities resulting from collaborations among multiple Civil Works Research, Development and Technology programs and non-USACE partners.

Galveston District

The Galveston District (SWG) contributes to the well-being, economic success and quality of life of local communities through beneficial use of dredged sediment.

Great Lakes Dredging Team

The Great Lakes Dredging Team (GLDT) provides a forum for the exchange of information regarding best practices, lessons learned, innovative solutions, and sustainable approaches to dredging and dredge material management throughout the Great Lakes region.

Nearshore Nourishment Knowledge Hub

Nearshore placement of dredged sediment is one common method to beneficially use dredged material. The Nearshore Nourishment Knowledge Hub consolidates the current state of the nearshore placement knowledge and best practices into one location.

New Orleans District

The USACE New Orleans District (MVN) has the largest channel Operations and Maintenance program and accounts for a third of sediment dredged in the nation. MVN leads the way in beneficial sediment use constructing over 62 square miles of land through BU opportunities.

New York District

The New York District (NAN) is one of the primary entities responsible for the creation, enhancement and restoration of aquatic, wetland, and upland habitat along the East Coast. Currently, the NAN has watershed-level ecosystem restoration projects underway for Jamaica Bay and several other areas within the Harbor.

Around the World

Central Dredging Association (CEDA)
Working Group on Beneficial Use of Sediment

Initiated in 2017 and completed in 2019, the working group produced a position paper and information paper about the beneficial use of sediments and created a webpage on the CEDA website to present beneficial use case studies from Europe and North America. Also available from CEDA, is the Proceedings Library where visitors can find informative papers on the beneficial use of sediment.

EcoShape, Consortium

EcoShape is the foundation that carries out the public-private Building with Nature innovation program. Within EcoShape contractors, engineering companies, research institutions, governments and NGOs work together to develop and spread knowledge about Building with Nature. This is a new philosophy in hydraulic engineering that takes building with natural materials and the use of forces and interactions within the natural system as the starting point.

Western Dredging Association (WEDA)
Working Group on Beneficial Use of Sediment

Initiated in 2018, the WEDA working group is partnering with The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC) to develop a report on beneficial uses of dredged sediment. Also available from WEDA, is the Proceedings Library where visitors can find informative papers on the beneficial use of sediment.

The World Association for Waterborne Transport (PIANC)
Environmental Commission Working Group 214 Beneficial Sediment Use (PDF)

The objective of the proposed WG is to provide technical information and guidance regarding the state of the practice for use of sediment as a beneficial use product by drawing from existing approaches and best practices worldwide. The report will link to other relevant reports published by PIANC, CEDA, and IADC, among others. The report will give orientation to sediment beneficial use practices, technologies, regulations, and limitations.

Other efforts in the United States

California Water Boards, San Francisco Bay

Any dredging and disposal activity in San Francisco Bay, marshes and creeks requires a permit from the Water Board. The Water Board works with its federal, state, and local partners in the Long Term Management Strategy for the Placement of Dredged Material in the San Francisco Bay Region (LTMS) to manage navigational dredging and disposal activities in the Bay Area.

Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act, (CWPPRA), is federal legislation enacted in 1990 that is designed to identify, prepare, and fund construction of coastal wetlands restoration projects. Since its inception, 210 coastal restoration or protection projects have been authorized, benefiting approximately 100,000 acres in Louisiana. The legislation (Public Law 101-646, Title III CWPPRA) was approved by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by former President George H. W. Bush. Projects include using dredged sediment in environmentally beneficial ways.

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

In July 2012, the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council), which includes the governors of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, the Army, Commerce, Homeland Security, the Interior and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Council funds projects and activities aimed at restoring the Gulf of Mexico. Projects include using dredged sediment in environmentally beneficial ways.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)

In 2001, Maryland passed the Dredged Material Management Act and defined Maryland's "Beneficial Uses" of dredged material, including marsh enhancement, beach nourishment, shoreline stabilization, and island restoration.

State of New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT)

In 1993, dredging was stopped in the Port of New Jersey and New York because of the closing of a dredged sediment disposal site off Sandy Hook. NJDOT was established partly in response to the dredged sediment management crisis. The NJDOT has shown leadership in dredged sediment management planning to ensure dredging projects can proceed and to use sediment beneficially when possible.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)

The USEPA and USACE co-chair the National Dredging Team (NDT). The NDT, a federal interagency group that works to ensure that U.S. harbors, channels, and waterways are dredged in a timely and cost-effective manner while environmental protection, restoration and enhancement goals are met, recognizes dredged sediment as a valuable resource that can be used in environmentally beneficial ways.

USEPAs River Corridor and Wetland Restoration

The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program brings together students, conservation corps, other youth groups, citizen groups, corporations, landowners and government agencies to provide environmental education and training through projects that restore wetlands and streams.