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Framework for Dredged Material Management
May 2004
seed-eating birds and small mammals. Larger tracts may be managed for a variety of
wildlife including waterfowl, game mammals, and rare or endangered species. The
knowledge that a disposal site will ultimately be developed into a useful area, be it a
residential area, a park, or wildlife habitat, improves public acceptance of the dredged
material disposal alternative.
Many island habitats have been created by placement of dredged material, varying
in size and characteristics and ranging in age from newly formed to those estimated to be
50 years old. The primary wildlife species utilizing dredged material islands as part of
their life requirements are species of colonial-nesting waterbirds. Natural islands have
been altered and developed to such a large extent that some areas no longer have coastal
islands that are still suitable wildlife habitat. Dredged material islands have provided this
vital habitat in many areas.
Aquatic habitats are typical submerged habitats extending from near sea, river, or
lake level down several feet. Aquatic habitat development is the establishment of
biological communities on dredged material placed at or below mean tide in coastal areas
and in permanent water in lakes and rivers. Potential developments include such
communities as tidal flats, seagrass meadows, oyster beds, clam flats, fishing reefs, and
freshwater aquatic plant establishment. The bottom of many water bodies potentially
could be altered using dredged material; this could simultaneously improve the
characteristics of the site for selected aquatic species.
6.2.2 Beach Nourishment
Shore erosion is a major problem along many ocean and estuary beaches and the
shoreline of the Great Lakes. Beach nourishment is usually accomplished by dredging
sand from inshore or offshore locations and transporting the sand by truck, by split-hull
hopper dredge, or by hydraulic pipeline to an eroding beach. These operations may result
in displacement of the substrate, changes in the topography or bathymetry of the borrow
and replenishment areas, and destruction of nonmotile benthic communities. However, a
well-planned beach nourishment operation can minimize these effects by taking
advantage of the resiliency of the beach and nearshore environment and its associated
biota, and by avoiding sensitive resources. When dredged material is used for beach
nourishment, it should closely match the sediment composition of the eroding beach and
be low in fine sediments, organic material, and pollutants. Beach nourishment and
protection can also be accomplished by placement of dredged material mounds or berms
on the bottom, where much of the material would be carried by wave action to the beach.
6.2.3 Aquaculture/Mariculture
Because of the increasing difficulty and expense of obtaining CDFs for use as
single purpose disposal areas, the development of a multiple-use strategy such as
aquaculture or mariculture is desirable. Dredged material containment sites commonly
possess structural features such as dikes and water control devices that may enhance their
suitability as aquaculture areas. It is possible that future site availability would be

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