Active Research project

The Static and Dynamic Benefits of Beneficial Use: Forging Connections to Engineering  With Nature

Project Information

Using dredged sediment beneficially is an important component of USACE’s dredged material management strategy, which ultimately aims to achieve 70% beneficial use (BU) on an annual basis by 2030. Despite many past successes (Berkowitz et al. 2021), currently, less than 40% of dredged material in the US is used beneficially (Searcy Bell et al. 2021). A myriad of challenges exist that discourage increased beneficial use (BU), including limited Federal budgets, insufficient state and local sponsor budgets, and incompatible project timing and volume inconsistencies between dredging projects and BU projects. Therefore, a more holistic evaluation of beneficial use is needed, especially considering both short-term and long-term benefits as related to project costs.

The proposed project has four main objectives: (1) build on the recent July 2021 beneficial use (BU) workshop to develop a Tech Report articulating the full range of benefits of innovative BU practices and this connection to EWN (a quick win in FY22), (2) establish BU working group comprised of members across USACE(a second quick win in FY22); (3) demonstrate through a series of case studies  (derived from completed BU projects) how both “static” and “dynamic” benefits of BU described in (1) can be achieved, consistent with EWN principles (another quick win in FY23); and (4) conduct focused field studies (an inland and a coastal demonstration) that develop information to quantify the benefits in the identified BU projects. Particularly, showing how multiple benefits can be realized by applying EWN best practices using dredged sediment. The documentation of best practices, in combination with lab and field studies that quantify benefits, will provide information needed to increase BU throughout the USACE.

The beneficial use of dredged sediment spans a wide range of engineering and operational efforts. Resulting benefits from each BU can vary considerably but are not widely recognized or communicated (originally from Todd Bridges).

Point of Contact

Research Biologist, Environmental Laboratory, ERDC


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