Monica Chasten, Operations Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District, received a national award on Capitol Hill for her efforts to help re-establish coastal navigation and restore degraded marsh in New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Chasten was honored with the Army Corps of Engineers Award by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) during a ceremony at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. in February 2015.
She said that the Army Corps’ Philadelphia District began working with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, the state of New Jersey and several non-profit organizations on ways to dredge for coastal navigation purposes and use the material in a beneficial way to help restore impacted shorelines as well as degraded marsh in back bay environments.
The USACE Philadelphia District partnered with the state, and non-profit organizations on two marsh restoration and habitat creation demonstration projects along the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway. The Army Corps, New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, and the Green Trust Alliance joined efforts in 2014 on the initiative.
The first demo project involved dredging the federal channel of the Intracoastal Waterway near Stone Harbor and Middle Township, N.J. The Army Corps’ contractor Barnegat Bay Dredging Company removed approximately 7000 cubic yards of fine-grain sand from a critical shoal in the waterway. The clean material was then pumped through a series of pipes and placed on degraded marsh.
A second demo project took place near Avalon, N.J. Barnegat Bay Dredging Company removed 6000 cubic yards of material from the federal navigation channel and placed the sediment on nearby degraded marshes. Chasten said that the second project required a combination of filling in eroded pool and panne areas of the marsh as well as conducting more thin-layer placement.
The projects were completed in 2014 and have been monitored for ecological benefits by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy.
Chasten said USACE plans to award a contract in the spring of 2015 to dredge critical shoals in two different areas of the Intracoastal Waterway: near Avalon N.J. and Beach Haven, N.J.
“We’re working with the state now on beneficial use options for the material in these areas,” said Chasten who added that material could be used again for marsh restoration purposes in the respective areas.
Dredging is necessary along the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway to ensure safe maritime navigation. When the dredged material is clean and suitable sediment, USACE looks for opportunities to reuse the material. In the past, dredged material was pumped into confined disposal sites cut off from coastal processes.