Effects of Contaminated Dredge Spoils on Wetland Plant Communities: A Literature Review
Contaminated dredge spoil disposal is a national concern due to its scope and effects on biota, water quality, and the physical environment. In 1998, over $500 million was spent on dredging in the United States (Briuer, 1998). About 350 million tons of sediment are dredged each year, most of which is removed from the Gulf of Mexico drainage. New Orleans, Louisiana moves 60 million tons of river and harbor sediments each year, while about 4 million tons of sediments are moved from the Great Lakes drainage. About 20% of all dredged sediment is ocean-disposed and the remaining sediments are divided equally between freshwater and terrestrial disposal (R.M. Engler, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2000, personal communication). The challenge for the 21st century is balancing navigation dredging needs with environmental protection (Briuer, 1998).