Webb, Frederick J., Jr. (ed.) / Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Conference on Wetlands Restoration and Creation : May 14-15, 1992
Lee, Charles R.
Creation of wetlands with dredged material: pros and cons, pp. 86-90 PDF (2.4 MB)
Creation of Wetlands With Dredged Material; Pros and Cons Charles R. Lee U.S. ARMY ENGINEER WATERWAYS EXPERIMENT STATION 3919 Halls Ferry Road Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180 The Corps of Engineers dredges approximately 400 million cubic yards od dredged material each year to maintain this Nation's waterways for navigational purposes. There are many potential opportunity for beneficial use of much of this material, including wetland creation, wildlife habitat development, restoration of acid minespoil, agricultural use, silviculture use, recreational use, and shoreline erosion control. This paper will mainly discuss the evaluation of dredged material for wetland creation. Some of the pitfalls in using dredged material for beneficial uses are: not knowing what you have, mismanaging contaminated dredged material, underestimating potential contaminant problems, shortsightedness in only considering short-term effect, and failure to consider long-term effects. This paper will discuss an approach and procedures that will overcome these pitfalls. Dredged material has been used for agriculture at truck farms in the production of vegetables in South Carolina and Oregon, as well as grazing land for cattle in Louisiana. The Dutch have used dredged material for parks, golf course and silviculture. Wetlands have been created with dredged materials across the United States. There are manuals and reports that are helpful in the beneficial use of dredged material and can be obtained from Dr. Mary Landin, U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station. These beneficial uses can be realized when appropriate testing and evaluations are conducted. Normally, a bulk chemical analysis of the dredged material will give an inventory of what is present. This information is useful in answering the question, "Is there reason to believe the dredged material is contaminated?" If the answer is "yes', then further evaluation is necessary. The Corps of Engineers has spent over 50 million dollars during the last 20 years in conducting research on dredged material and developing a management strategy for the disposal of dredged material (Francingues at al., 1985). This management strategy includes test procedures that estimate the potential for contaminant migration through various pathways. Tests have been developed in the laboratory and field verified in the Corps/EPA Field Verification Program. Additional tests are currently under development. The Corps has developed a decisionmaking framework (Lee et at., 1991) that interprets the results of the tests in the management strategy that is consistent with Section 103 of the Ocean Dumping Act, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Based on available information and a bulk analysis of the sediment to be dredged, if there is no reason to believe the sediment is contaminated, then the material can be used for wetland creation or any other potential beneficial use. However, if the sediment contains contaminants that are of concern, then further evaluation and/or testing of the sediment should be 86
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