Jacqueline Tate, USACE

U.S. Army Corps Selects 10 Beneficial Use Pilot Projects

At the end of December, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) announced its selection of ten dredging projects that will form the core of a pilot program to advance the beneficial use of dredged material.

The recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement culminated a program required by Congress, established within the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, specifically Section 1122.  Congress directed that the ten pilot projects selected were required to present environmental, economic, and social benefits and the selections had to show “geographical diversity,” i.e., undertaken in different locations around the country.  

The Army Corps received 95 proposals.  

The term, ‘dredge spoils,’ for most dredgers, is a dirty word. And, thankfully, it is slowly becoming a catch phrase from the past. According to William P. Doyle, the CEO & Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America (DCA), it’s all good news. Doyle says, “Those projects are designed to use material dredged from one site and then utilize it for coastal restoration rather than wasting it through ocean dumping or some other type of disposal. It’s good policy; now more widely accepted in the environmental community. Therefore, we’ll push for more of this in the coming years.”

Section 1122 also included a list of review criteria. Drilling down a little deeper, Congress wanted projects that would advance the following benefits:

  • Reducing storm damage to property and infrastructure;
  • Promoting public safety;
  • Protecting, restoring, and creating aquatic ecosystem habitats;
  • Stabilizing stream systems and enhancing shorelines;
  • Promoting recreation;
  • Supporting risk management adaptation strategies; and,
  • Reducing the costs of dredging and dredged material placement or disposal, such as projects that use dredged material for—

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