Gulf of Mexico Alliance's Gulf Regional Sediment Management Master Plan

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) is a regional ocean partnership among the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, with the goal of increasing collaboration to significantly enhance the environmental and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. The Alliance has six priority issue teams with Southeast Region Habitat Conservation Division staff serving as a co-Federal facilitator on the Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team.

Efforts associated with this partnership recognized sediment resources are critical to accomplishing many GOMA conservation and restoration initiatives and objectives. As a result, the GOMA’s Gulf Regional Sediment Management Master Plan (GRSMMP) was initiated for managing this valuable resource and highlighting the need for comprehensive understanding of regional sediment systems and processes.

The intent of the plan is to establish guidelines using the understanding of sediment dynamics (inputs, outputs, movement) to manage sediment resources toward accomplishing environmental restoration and habitat creation while enhancing the abilities of the GRSMMP users to make informed, cooperative management decisions.

Beneficial Use of Sediments from Dredging Activities in the Gulf of Mexico

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Larry E. Parson
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District


Russell Swafford
National Marine Fisheries Service, Habitat Conservation Division


Dredging activities are a potential source of sediment and should be considered in any conservation and restoration planning process. Wise use of sediment resources from dredging is integral to accomplishing the conservation and restoration initiatives and objectives being recommended under the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. Keeping dredged sediments within the natural system or using it in the construction of restoration projects can improve environmental conditions, provide storm damage protection, and contribute to habitat creation and restoration goals. Hundreds of millions of cubic yards of sediments are dredged each year from Gulf ports, harbors, and waterways, much of which could be used beneficially. Currently it is estimated that about 30% of all material dredged from federal channels in the Gulf states is used beneficially and very little of the privately funded dredging is used for beneficial purposes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conducts dredging under its navigation maintenance program and much of the dredging conducted is typically done on a scheduled and routine basis. Successful planning of beneficial-use projects utilizing USACE dredging necessitates the early coordination and work of multidisciplinary interagency teams on a regular basis. There is also a need to improve data access and management for dredging activities for use by project managers and planners.

CITATION:  Parson, L.E. and Swafford, R., 2012. Beneficial use of sediments from dredging activities in the Gulf of Mexico. In: Khalil, S.M., Parson, L.E., and Waters, J.P. (eds.), Technical Framework for the Gulf Regional Sediment Management Master Plan (GRSMMP), Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 60, 45–50.


Cover of Journal of Coastal Restoration