When feasible, dredged material can be used as a resource rather than treated as a waste product. Beneficial uses can include habitat creation and restoration, beach nourishment, landfill cover, and land site remediation.
“Beneficial use of dredge material provides a sustainable solution to managing the Federal Navigation Channels,” said Herbert M. Bullock, Dredge Material Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District. “It can reduce dredging costs for the Mobile District.”
With proper funding, planning, a willingness of environmental agencies and the public, beneficial use of dredged material can have a significant impact on environmental improvement.
“It allows us to use our material in alternate ways to enhance the quality of the surrounding environment while alleviating the need to fill our disposal sites that have limited capacity,” said Ashley N. Kleinschrodt, USACE Mobile District Navigation Section Chief.
The following locations are some of the Mobile District’s efforts related to beneficial uses of dredged material.
Apalachicola Bay (Eastpoint Channel) – The District is partnering with Franklin County, Florida to design and construct a 20-acre Beneficial Use site to service the Eastpoint Navigation Channel. Sandy material from within the site’s footprint will be used to construct a containment berm. The site will then be backfilled. Once the dredged material has consolidated, Franklin County will plant the site with local marsh vegetation. Construction and dredging is scheduled to begin April/May 2022.
Apalachicola Bay (St. George Island) – The District will be placing sandy material from Sike’s Cut (the entrance channel to Apalachicola Bay) along the shoreline of the St. George Island. The project is scheduled to begin April 2022.
Pensacola Entrance Channel (Perdido Key, Florida) – The District will be placing approximately 160,000 cubic yards of sandy O&M material from the Pensacola Entrance Channel along National Parks Service Johnson’s Beach. The material will be used to restore two locations that were breached during Hurricane Sally. The project is scheduled to begin in April and be completed by May.
Mobile Deepening – Material from the Mobile Deepening Phases 5 and 6 are designated for beneficial use. The Corps is partnering with Mobile County to place material from Phase 6 – Upper Bay Turning Basin along the Dauphin Island Causeway for marsh creation and shoreline protection. The Corps and County’s engineering consultant continue to collaborate on the final design of the shoreline. Both Phases 5 and 6 are scheduled to be begin 2023.
Deer Island Restoration (Biloxi, Mississippi) – The District is partnering with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to design and construct a beneficial use site that would restore Deer Island to its 1850’s footprint. The project entails the construction of a 100+ marsh creation sites utilizing dredged material from the Federal Navigation Channel and other non-federal dredging projects along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Corps is in the processes of collecting field data required for the design of the project.
“All of these related projects create a way to change the perception of dredged material,” said Bullock. “From a byproduct of the dredging process to a valuable resource to the environment. Revolutionizing the use of byproducts from operations around District is an ongoing effort.”
The Mobile District does all it can to support and facilitate the beneficial use of dredged material such as those described above, as the district is one of the primary entities responsible for habitat creation and restoration, beach nourishment, landfill cover, site remediation, and construction fill.