Dredged material from N.J. inlet slated for ‘beneficial use’

An aerial view of the Barnegat Inlet. (Photo: Civil Air Patrol courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

An aerial view of the Barnegat Inlet. (Photo: Civil Air Patrol courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

State and federal agencies are partnering on a pilot program to utilize dredged material from a notoriously turbulent New Jersey inlet for “beneficial use.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the Barnegat Inlet, which it characterizes as “one of the most dangerous” inlets on the East Coast, typically requires dredging — deepening the channel by removing sediment — twice a year to ensure safe navigation to commercial, charter, and recreational vessels.

But a large amount of the dredged material is deposited in state and federal navigation channels with limited funds and places to dump the sediment, according to Steve Rochette, an Army Corps spokesman.

To put the dredged material to good use, the Army Corps will be implementing a pilot program in accordance with the 2016 Water Resources Development Act.

Rochette says the agency will implement a “one-time dredging and beneficial use placement effort providing environmental and economic benefits and reducing future channel maintenance.”

The Water Resources Development Act requires the Army Corps to carry out 10 projects. The agency impaneled subject matter experts to evaluate 95 proposals from around the country and select 10 for implementation, Rochette said.

According to the Army Corps, projects involve the “beneficial use” of dredged material for the following purposes: storm damage reduction; promoting public safety; protecting, restoring, and creating aquatic ecosystems; promoting recreation; enhancing shorelines; civic improvement; and, other innovative uses and placement alternatives that produce public economic or environmental benefits.

The agency has not said when the program will commence.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation announced late last year that contractors will deposit dredged material from navigation channels onto the 4.3-acre Parker Island, located in the Barnegat Bay west of Long Beach Island’s Beach Haven.

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