By action of the eight Great Lakes states at the Great Lakes Commission’s Annual Meeting, held on Sept. 30 in Buffalo, N.Y., the “Flexibility in the federal standard for navigation dredging projects in the Great Lakes basin” resolution has been adopted.
At the meeting attendees agreed that dredging is vital to ensure safe navigation for shippers engaged in maritime commerce and recreational boaters who utilize ports, harbors and shipping channels in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River
The resolution encourages state and local governments to expand the demand for the beneficial use of dredged material to make such uses viable solutions and encourages the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider the benefits of reusing clean sediment.
According to the resolution, USACE can select a disposal or placement method that is not the federal standard in order to achieve environmental benefits only with specific congressional appropriation, at a 75 percent federal cost share with the states.
USACE should also provide greater latitude and flexibility in interpreting and applying this federal standard in order to fully consider the social, economic and environmental benefits of reusing clean sediment, the added benefits of removing sediments and nutrients from the aquatic ecosystem, and utilizing beneficial use opportunities to reduce open water placement of dredge material, where appropriate.
October 3, 2014