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Title: Case studies of the thin-layer disposal of dredged material -- Gull Rock, North Carolina
Authors: Dredging Operations Technical Support Program (U.S.)
Wilber, Pace.
Keywords: Dredging
Dredging spoil
Dredged material
Spoil banks
Dredged material disposal
Environmental aspects
Environmental effects
Gull Rock
North Carolina
Issue Date: Aug-1992
Publisher: Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Description: Information Exchange Bulletin
Introduction: Each year, navigation interests must find several thousand acres of new disposal sites for dredged material. This task is becoming more difficult for projects surrounded by wetlands or open water because dredged material can impair the ecological functions of these habitats. To help alleviate this situation, several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Districts and members of the dredging industry have proposed that placing dredged material in relatively thin, uniform layers will reduce environmental impacts associated with dredged material placement enough to make placement in certain areas environmentally acceptable. These proposals are supported by Zaremba and Leatherman (1984), Maurer and others (1986), and other researchers who show that impacts to infauna and marsh vegetation are correlated with overburden thickness. Although thin-layer disposal, that is, the planned placement of dredged material at thicknesses believed to reduce immediate impacts to biota or hasten recruitment of biota to the material without transforming a habitat's function, potentially can reduce environmental impacts in some habitat types, few studies of the environmental effects of this disposal technique have been conducted (TAI Environmental Services, Inc. 1987, 1988, Cahoon and Cowan 1988). Such studies are needed to document the actual effects of thin-layer disposal, which can lead to wider acceptance of this management technique. This article is the first in a series chronicling the use of thin-layer disposal in marsh and subtidal estuarine habitats. The purpose of the series is to describe longterm environmental effects resulting from placing dredged material at different thicknesses in these habitats. Environmental Effects of Dredging Technical Notes will be published that synthesize this information and integrate it with information about engineering aspects of thin-layer disposal. This article summarizes the results of an examination of a marsh along Lake Landing Canal, Gull Rock, North Carolina, about 10 years after dredged material was placed in the marsh in 5- and 10-centimeter layers. A more detailed presentation of the survey appears in Wilber and others (in preparation).
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