WEDA Press Release- WEDA’s 2017 Environmental Excellence Award for Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change was presented to the Project Team for Strategically Placing Dredged Material Enhancing Horseshoe Bend Island, Horseshoe Bend Island Project in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana, USA.
Project team members are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research & Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District; Weeks Marine, Inc.; Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company; and Mike Hooks, Inc. During the 1990s, placement of shoal material dredged from Horseshoe Bend occurred at eight wetland development sites located along the river’s banklines adjacent to the channel. Capacity of these placement sites was nearly exhausted by 1999. Beginning in 2002, strategic placement of the sediment dredged from Horseshoe Bend occurred at the mid-river open water placement area. Between 0.5 to 1.8 million cubic yards of sediment were placed every 1 to 3 years. This influenced and contributed to the development of an approximately 35 hectare island mid-river. The initial goal was to improve the understanding of how and why the island was formed over a 12 year period. Climate change, navigation, environmental, and economic benefits were identified and quantified to determine the multiple benefits being realized for enhancing the coastal Louisiana landscape with a focus upon carbon sequestration in the created habitat and CO2 reductions in emissions.
As the USACE increases its use of Engineering with Nature (EWN) principles and practices nationwide, capturing the full array of benefits of reductions in carbon released to the atmosphere as well as the environmental, economic, and social benefits generated by these novel solutions becomes critical. The USACE Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) developed metrics to capture the benefits of strategically placing dredged material in a river system to allow nature to self-form an island downstream that is producing a wide array of benefits both for local communities and the broader ecosystem at large. These metrics can be used to justify the application of this island-building approach at other riverine sites nationwide. >>Read the article (external link)