Researchers from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Environmental Laboratory and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Great Lakes Districts – Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago – recently released a technical report which provides guidance for evaluating the environmental suitability of dredged material in the Great Lakes region.
The “Environmental Evaluation and Management of Dredged Material for Beneficial Use: A Regional Beneficial Use Testing Manual for the Great Lakes” is the first guidance developed by USACE for evaluating the environmental suitability of dredged material specifically for beneficial use placements.
“There was a need to develop a regional approach to determining the environmental suitability of dredged material for beneficial use,” said Dr. Karen Keil, ERDC environmental toxicologist and co-chair of the Great Lakes Dredging Team (GLDT).
“The publication of this technical report should make implementing beneficial use of dredged material projects more efficient and support implementation of Section 125 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020.”
The Great Lakes region is comprised of eight states, with some harbors that overlap state boundaries, demonstrating the need for a regional approach for evaluating suitability of the beneficial use of dredged material.
Sediment is a valuable resource within the Great Lakes ecosystem, and many dredged sediments are suitable for a variety of beneficial uses.
Beneficial use refers to using dredged material rather than disposing of it.
In the Great Lakes region, and throughout the country, beneficial use of dredged sediment has been successful in nourishing beaches, replenishing eroding shorelines, creating habitat and restoring brownfields.