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  • Development and Testing of the Sediment Distribution Pipe (SDP): A Pragmatic Tool for Wetland Nourishment

    Abstract: Standard dredging operations during thin layer placement (TLP) projects are labor intensive as crews are necessary to periodically move the outfall location, which can have lasting adverse effects on the marsh surface. In an effort to increase efficiency during TLP, a novel Sediment Distribution Pipe (SDP) system was investigated. This system offers multiple discharge points along the pipeline to increase the sediment distribution while reducing pipeline movements. An SDP Modeling Application (SDPMA) was developed to assist in the design of SDP field applications by quickly assessing the pressure and velocity inside the discharge pipe and approximating the slurry throw distances. An SDP field proof of concept was performed during a two-phase TLP on Sturgeon Island, New Jersey, in 2020. The SDPMA was shown to be an accurate method of predicting performance of the SDP. The SDP was successful at distributing dredge material across the placement site; however, further research is warranted to better quantify performance metrics.
  • Hurdles to Beneficial Use of Dredged Material: Root Cause Analysis

    Purpose: This technical note (TN) summarizes high points of an internal review of US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) dredging and dredged material management practices, specifically beneficial use of dredged material (BUDM), that USACE manages from various navigation channels and ports around the nation.
  • Hydraulic Sorting of Dredged Sediment in a Pipeline: An Evaluation of the Sediment Distribution Pipe

    Abstract: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently established a goal to beneficially use 70% of material dredged from the nation’s navigable waterways by the year 2030. Most of the sediments dredged by the USACE are heterogeneous mixtures of mud and sand, which can limit beneficial use of dredged material (BUDM) applications. Innovative technologies that can sort material during the dredging process are needed to help increase BUDM practices. This investigation sought to evaluate the ability of a sediment distribution pipe (SDP) to sort particles during transport in a pipeline. Field demonstrations were conducted during dredged material placements at Sturgeon Island, New Jersey. Velocity within the pipeline was found to be inadequate for efficient hydraulic sorting of fines (<75 μm) and produced inconclusive results. Small scale laboratory SDP experiments found that effluent from the SDP holes had an altered sediment texture compared to the initial slurry and that hydraulic sorting was occurring within the pipeline. However, outflow from the SDP holes was inconsistent, and typically >90% of the sediment mass was discharged out the end of the pipeline. Sorting efficiency of the SDP could not be accurately assessed in the current experimental configuration.
  • Considering Sediment Beneficial Use Options at Lake Michigan Harbors in Wisconsin

    Abstract: In 2020 the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reassigned 14 federally maintained harbors in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan to USACE–Chicago District. The administrative change presents opportunities for in-creased beneficial use of sediment at harbors that have not traditionally placed sediment beneficially. This paper summarizes a screening-level analysis of 12 harbors to determine which harbors are likely to have sediment appropriate for beneficial use in the future, either in water or upland. The harbors were qualitatively ranked according to the potential for future successful beneficial use of navigationally dredged sediment. Using this screening, data needs were defined and next steps to aid the development of a regional dredged-material management plan were identified.
  • Guidelines for How to Approach Thin-Layer Placement Projects

    Abstract: Historically, dredged material (DM) has been placed at the nearest available placement site. There has been an increasing trend of beneficial use projects recently, often using innovative methods. Thin-layer placement (TLP) involves one- to two-foot-thick DM placement, compared to traditional, thicker sediment placement applications, to restore coastal wetlands. The main idea of TLP is to promote the natural recolonization or reestablishment of habitat and benthic species. These guidelines present a roadmap of TLP’s evolution and offer easily digestible examples and considerations for TLP applications in wetlands and open-water environments. Offered as a tool to the practitioner, the eight chapters of these guidelines cover the history of TLP, characterization of the project area, setting goals and objectives, project design, construction considerations, monitoring and adaptive management, knowledge gaps, and future research needs. Several case studies are presented as examples of how such applications have been implemented and highlight lessons learned, particularly best-management practices. These guidelines offer consideration of TLP as a critical component in the project development phase, a tool for the sustainable management of DM, and a method that may create, maintain, enhance, or restore ecological function while supporting navigation channel infrastructure and providing flood risk management benefits.
  • Proceedings from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 2021 Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Virtual Workshop

    Abstract: On 13–15 July 2021, 58 representatives from Headquarters, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), 2 USACE Divisions, 14 USACE districts, and US Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Environmental (EL) and Coastal Hydraulics (CHL) Laboratories came together and participated in a virtual workshop on the beneficial use (BU) of dredged material. The overall goal was to organize the BU community across USACE and develop a path forward to increase BU practices. Talks and discussions focused on the current status of BU across USACE, including success stories on innovative BU projects, challenges related to regulatory issues, state and federal policies, technical logistics, and stakeholder engagement, as well opportunities for expanding current practices to include more regular and innovative applications. The workshop was cohosted by Dr. Amanda Tritinger (CHL) and Dr. Kelsey Fall (CHL) on behalf of the Engineering With Nature®, Coastal Inlets Research Program, Dredging Operations and Environmental Research, and Regional Sediment Management research programs. The workshop concluded by introducing and awarding the first annual Timothy L. Welp Award for Advancing Beneficial Use of Dredged Sediments to recognize teams (with members across and outside of USACE) that have advanced progress on BU through collaboration, partnering, and innovation.
  • Advances in Dredged Material Evaluations for Inland and Ocean Aquatic Placement: Modernized Processes and Supportive Tools

    Abstract: As part of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ mission to evaluate and move dredged material (DM) to maintain navigation channels, environmental evaluation of the prospective material is required by the Code of Federal Regulations. While existing guidance manuals provide useful guidance to DM regulators, they are over 30 years old and not reflective of the latest science. However, efforts to update procedures and publish the documents individually or as a combined dredging manual have been thus far unsuccessful. These issues, coupled with a lack of consistent reporting and decision documentation, lead to delays arising from challenges addressing project-specific issues not clearly covered within the existing guidance, revisiting previously resolved issues or negotiating disputes between permitting authorities. This technical report provides a path toward modernization of the environmental compliance aspects of DM evaluation guidance in part through software executables guiding the management and decision process and through a structured, evidence-based approach. The value added is an updated approach to DM testing and evaluation decisions.
  • A Review of Tidal Embayment Shoaling Mechanisms in the Context of Future Wetland Placement

    Abstract: Wetland construction in tidally influenced embayments is a strategy for beneficial use of sediment dredged from nearby navigation channels. These projects have the potential to alter basin morphology, tidal hydrodynamics, and shoaling trends. This special report provides a broad review of the literature related to engineering-induced changes in tidal range, salinity, tidal prism, tidal asymmetry, and other known causes of shoaling. Each potential shoaling mechanism is then evaluated in the context of wetland placement to provide a foundation for future beneficial use research. Based on a compilation of worldwide examples, wetland placement may reduce tidal amplitude and enhance ebb current dominance, thus reducing shoaling rates in the channels. However, constructed wetlands could also reduce the embayment’s tidal prism and cause accelerated shoaling relative to the pre-engineered rate. Because constructed wetlands are often created in conjunction with navigation channel dredging, the system’s morphologic response to wetland construction is likely to be superimposed upon its response to channel deepening, and the net effect may vary depending on a variety of system- specific parameters. Planning for future wetland placements should include an evaluation of local hydrodynamic behavior considering these factors to predict site-specific response.
  • Systematic Beneficial Use of Dredged Sediments: Matching Sediment Needs with Dredging Requirements

    PURPOSE: This technical note (TN) will outline a framework to identify beneficial and cost-effective coastal beneficial use of dredged sediment (BUDS) projects. Creation of a BUDS framework that can be applied at scale will promote sustainable BUDS practices, facilitating the delivery of flood risk management, social, and environmental benefits while still fulfilling the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) navigation mission. This proactive forecasting approach uses multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and optimization tools to balance tradeoffs between navigation dredging and BUDS goals over project-scale timespans. The proposed framework utilizes available tools to quantify ecological system evolution and current and future dredging needs to develop a systems-level approach to BUDS. Required data include current and future information on (1) existing and planned natural and created aquatic ecological systems, which may include natural and nature-based features (NNBFs), (2) dredging requirements and costs, and (3) aquatic system physical and environmental data.
  • Environmental Evaluation and Management of Dredged Material for Beneficial Use: A Regional Beneficial Use Testing Manual for the Great Lakes

    Abstract: The Environmental Evaluation and Management of Dredged Material for Beneficial Use: A Regional Beneficial Use Testing Manual for the Great Lakes (a.k.a. Great Lakes Beneficial Use Testing Manual) is a resource document providing technical guidance for evaluating the suitability of dredged sediment for beneficial use in aquatic and terrestrial environments in the Great Lakes region. The procedures in this manual are based on the Environmental Laboratory extensive research, working with US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Great Lakes districts, state resource agencies, and local stakeholders seeking to develop dredged material beneficial use alternatives consistent with regional needs and goals. This manual is the first guidance document developed by USACE for evaluating the environmental suitability of dredged material specifically for beneficial use placements. It provides a tiered framework for evaluating the environmental suitability of aquatic and upland beneficial uses consistent with the Inland Testing Manual and the Upland Testing Manual. This manual is intended to serve as a regional platform to increase collaborative problem-solving and endorse a common understanding of the scientific and institutional practices for evaluating dredged material for any beneficial use. Dredged sediment may be managed as a valuable resource, with great potential to create economic, environmental, and social benefits.