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What are Dredge Spoils?

Dredging can unearth all kinds of various rock, soil, and shell materials and it's what they call dredge spoils. What are dredge spoils? These dredge spoils set unconformably on uninterrupted soil and have the potential to form anthropogenic landforms such as lynchets and undulations. Unfortunately, the main dumping spot for dredging spoils is in the middle of the ocean and it can cause a bevy of issues.

Dredge spoils can be dumped elsewhere, such as on land for things like local land reclamation but the vast majority ends up in our oceans. This was initially started because it was thought that the ocean was vast enough to be able to hand the mixture and disbursement of soil and mineral waste. The size of the ocean kept those at ease for anything possibly going wrong, but it is now being paid more attention to as it has caused issues with fishers and disrupted the ecosystem.

This has prompted environmental organizations to regulate where these dredge soils are dumped. These types of regulations started at an event called the London Convention back in 1972. It has since been updated in 2014 which utilizes the best environmental options for dumping dredge soils and allows it to be more manageable and not so damaging to parts of the ecosystem.

In the short of it, dredge soils don't cause a health threat or life-threatening issues to humanity, but they will affect the world around us even if it may be ever so slightly.

What created the red tide and algae bloom in the first place?

red tide FloridaFlorida is no stranger to weird things happening inside and along the coasts. This time an odd occurrence has raised a lot of concern with those closest to our sunny beaches. Red tide has been in the news frequently as the toxic killer of many types of marine life, their carcasses littering the shores of beaches along the Gulf Coast. 

Red tide is a harmful algae bloom, and it's basically an overabundance of algae that lets out toxins. These toxins kill many types of fish and make shellfish inedible. This causes enormous problems for Florida's fishers as they can't obtain any of their catches during red tide.

The actual cause for a red tide has been stated as the effect of nutrients being pushed up from the sea floor during storms. Although this is a naturally occurring thing, lately it has been realized that humans play a hand in accelerating these effects. The most prominent example of this being the red tide crisis that happened earlier this year along the Gulf Coast. The more nutrients pushed to the surface, the more algae. And the red means lousy news; it's toxic to animals and humans alike. 

Besides the loss of jobs for Florida's fishers and shrimpers, the state has seen a decline in the state economy due to fewer people visiting and enjoying these once beautiful beaches. Local businesses and restaurants are suffering thanks to the accelerated and advanced effects of this harmful algae bloom.

There is no known cure for red tide, as stated before it is a natural occurrence. Scientists are working on understanding this type of algae and when/where it blooms as to give those living near the outbreaks enough time to prepare.

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Why canal dredging in Florida is most important to our waterways

canal dredging floridaProper hydraulic dredging of canals is vital to the maintenance of the canal’s health, quality, and recreational enjoyment. The long-term benefits of proper canal dredging are crucial to the survival of a canal.

Carefully navigating through canal waters is something many boat owners are familiar with. Sediment builds up at the bottom of the canal creating muck, which lowers the water quality and usability. 

Alligators, turtles, catfish, carp, squirrels, rabbits, deer, an abundance of spectacular birds and even the occasional bobcat love to sun on the banks of a good canal and find life in it’s flowing waters. But if a canal becomes too overgrown, or unkempt, these naturally wonderful “friends” seek solemn elsewhere, in easier to navigate water bodies.

Proper hydraulic dredging of canals encourages the growth of rare aquatic plants while weeding out unneeded “junk.” Overgrowth of reeds, for example, dominates a canal and suffocates essential marine plant life. A properly hydraulically dredged, clean canal gives ideal conditions for critical aquatic plants to thrive.

How industrial dredging is good for Florida's ecosystem!

florida ecosystem dredgingClay, sand, and silt left behind from industrial dredging are repurposed as marshes and wildlife habitats. Benefits to local wildlife and the environment include the removal of contaminated sediments and their relocation to safe, contained areas, and the improvement of water quality through the restoration of water depth and flow. 

There are notable beneficial improvements from the use of clean maintenance industrial dredgings to enhance mudflat and saltmarsh habitats and to mitigate losses of intertidal land through sea level increase and capital dredging operations.

A few ways industrial dredging is good for Florida’s ecosystem include:

  • Removal of subtidal benthic species and communities. 
  • Short-term increases in the level of suspended sediment can give rise to changes in water quality which can positively affect marine life.
  • After the suspended sediments settle, the result is the smothering of subtidal communities and adjacent intertidal communities, which is used beneficially to raise the level of selected areas to offset sea level rise and erosion.
  • In soft sediment environments recovery of animal communities generally occurs relatively quickly and more rapid recovery of communities has been observed in areas exposed to periodic disturbances, such as maintained channels.
  • In general, recovery times rise in stable gravel and sand habitats dominated by long-lived components with complex biological interactions controlling community structure.

These findings are supported by studies of the Georgia Estuary system, USA, which suggest that industrial maintenance dredging has only a short-term effect on the animal communities of the silt and clay sediments. Although almost complete removal of organisms occurs during dredging, recovery begins within one month, and within two months the communities were reported to be similar to pre-dredge conditions.

How does waterway debris removal help keep Florida's lake systems flowing?

stormwater system floridaRoutine debris removal from waterways prolongs the life of Florida water bodies and waterways by improving their appearance, preventing flooding and other property damage and enhancing the ecosystems of local streams and lakes. 

Stormwater runoff is comprised of excess rainwater that flows into larger bodies of water and local storm sewer systems. Large quantities of water that would ordinarily be absorbed into the ground in a more natural environment instead enter streams and lakes. Stormwater runoff collects pollutants, chemicals, and debris as it flows over paved surfaces and into water bodies. It also causes erosion, decreases groundwater recharge and alters aquatic environments.

Stormwater debris removal helps slow the rate of runoff from surrounding areas and improves the quality of the stormwater flowing from the retention pond. Debris-free stormwater retention ponds play a vital role in protecting public safety and private property, personal health, and overall water quality. A debris-free stormwater retention pond basin collects and traps stormwater sediment that would otherwise clog up our lakes, rivers and streams and degrade the overall environment used by fish, birds, and other wildlife.

What are Dredge Spoils?

Monday, March 4, 2019

Dredging can unearth all kinds of various rock, soil, and shell materials and it's what they call dredge spoils.  These dredge spoils set unconformably on uninterrupted soil and have the potential to form anthropogenic landforms such as lynchets and undulations. Unfortunately, the main dumping spot for dredging spoils is in the middle of the ocean and it can cause a bevy of issues.

Read more...

What created the red tide and algae bloom in the first place?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Florida is no stranger to weird things happening inside and along the coasts. This time an odd occurrence has raised a lot of concern with those closest to our sunny beaches. Red tide has been in the news frequently as the toxic killer of many types of marine life, their carcasses littering the shores of beaches along the Gulf Coast. 

Read more...

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