US Army Corps of Engineers
Philadelphia District & Marine Design Center Website Website

Coastal Dredging and Beneficial Use of Dredged Material

In April 2019, USACE, the state of New Jersey, and The Wetlands Institute launched the Seven Mile Island Innovation Lab. The initiative is designed to advance and improve dredging and marsh restoration through innovative research, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and practical application.
USACE and partners completed a dredging and habitat creation project at Great Flats near Stone Harbor, N.J. in December of 2018. Work involved dredging the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway and using the material to create habitat.
USACE and partners completed a dredging and habitat creation project at Great Flats near Stone Harbor, N.J. in December of 2018. Work involved dredging the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway and using the material to create habitat.
The Dredge Fullerton, owned by Barnegat Bay Dredging Company, conducts dredging in the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway in 2018 as part of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project. The sediment was placed to create habitat on marshland owned by the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife.
Newly created colonial nesting bird habitat at Ring Island has been successfully utilized by black skimmers (pictured), common and least terns, and American oystercatchers – all state endangered species or species of special concern in the state of New Jersey.
USACE partnered with New Jersey and The Wetlands Institute to create nesting bird habitat at Ring Island near Stone Harbor, N.J. Sandy dredged material was placed on the site in 2014 and 2018. The newly created nesting bird habitat has been successfully utilized by state endangered birds species.
USACE partnered with New Jersey and The Wetlands Institute to create nesting bird habitat at Ring Island near Stone Harbor, N.J. Sandy dredged material was placed on the site in 2014 and 2018. The newly created nesting bird habitat has been successfully utilized by state endangered birds species.

Overview

The USACE Philadelphia District maintains the 117-mile long New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway and multiple coastal inlets in New Jersey and Delaware. These waterways are periodically dredged to provide for safe maritime navigation. When the dredged material is clean, USACE looks for opportunities to use the material beneficially. Examples include restoring degraded marsh and creating islands, which can provide critical habitat for wildlife and enhance coastal resiliency. 

These practices have occurred historically, but the concepts have gained increasing attention and focus in the years since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The USACE Philadelphia District is engaged in beneficially using dredged material in several ways:

  • The District has championed Regional Sediment Management projects for twenty years since the program's inception. 
  • In June 2016, the Philadelphia District became an Engineering with Nature Proving Ground. This program seeks to align natural and engineering processes to efficiently and sustainably deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits through collaborative processes. 
  • In April 2019, the Philadelphia District partnered with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife and The Wetlands Institute to launch the Seven Mile Island Innovation Lab (detailed below).  

Seven Mile Island Innovation Laboratory Overview

In Spring 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District partnered with the State of New Jersey, The Wetlands Institute, and the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center to launch the Seven Mile Island Innovation Laboratory (SMIIL).

Seven Mile Island, New Jersey was chosen to host an Innovation Lab due to the presence of existing and historic dredged material placement sites, confined disposal facilities, federal and state channels including the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway, extensive tidal marshes, a mixture of sandy and muddy sediments and, a rich historic dataset to build upon. SMIIL goals focus on mThe initiative is designed to advance and improve dredging and marsh restoration techniques in coastal New Jersey through innovative research, collaboration, knowledge sharing and practical application. SMIIL is based on an international concept pioneered by the Dutch who use a “Living Lab for Mud” to test and demonstrate environmental and societal benefits.

Maintaining safe navigation channels while retaining dredged sediment in the system to benefit natural ecosystems and coastal communities. (NOTE: In December 2019, the name was changed from the Seven Mile Island Living Lab to the Seven Mile Island Innovation Lab to better reflect goals and objectives). 

Contact

USACE Philadelphia District
Public Affairs Office

100 Penn Square E.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-656-6515  
Email

Innovation Lab Partners