This virtual workshop delved into the challenges and opportunities surrounding the utilization of Beneficial Use of Dredged Material (BUDM) to enhance submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) habitats.
Live Meeting Participants: US Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters, the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), the USACE South Pacific Division (SPD), and many USACE Districts including Baltimore, Jacksonville, Mobile, New England, New York, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Portland.
Dredging and open-water placement activities are typically associated with negative impacts to aquatic habitats, particularly for SAV. The workshop addressed these challenges and spotlighted innovative BUDM practices that can contribute to expanding and restoring SAV habitats. Building on the insights shared in the ERDC Technical Note “Dredged Material Can Benefit SAV Habitats,” the event aimed to bridge research, planning, operations, and regulatory expertise in natural and nature-based features (NNBF) and BUDM practices.
Participants engaged in a guided discussion, emphasizing two key areas:
- Tackling challenges impeding BUDM applications for SAV habitat expansion and restoration, and
- Exploring novel BUDM opportunities aligned with the Chief’s 70/30 BUDM goal.
The exchange illuminated hurdles including limited documented successes, agency buy-in hurdles, dredged material suitability, and long-term monitoring funding. The workshop spotlighted the necessity of pilot studies and a repository of project-related resources.
The participants voiced a need for ERDC’s role in developing comprehensive technical documents on pilot studies, consolidating existing knowledge for stakeholder distribution, quantifying BUDM advantages, and contributing to sustained monitoring efforts. This workshop not only uncovered challenges but also paved the way for a strategy to improve submerged aquatic vegetation habitats through innovative BUDM practices.