SPECIAL REPORT 262

A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects

Committee for Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects

Marine Board

Transportation Research Board

Ocean Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

National Research Council

National Academy Press

Washington, D.C.

2001



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A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects: Special Report 262 SPECIAL REPORT 262 A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects Committee for Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects Marine Board Transportation Research Board Ocean Studies Board Division on Earth and Life Studies National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 2001

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A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects: Special Report 262 Transportation Research Board Special Report 262 Subscriber Category I planning, administration, and environment IX marine transportation Transportation Research Board publications are available by ordering individual publications directly from the TRB Business Office, through the Internet at national-academies.org/trb, or by annual subscription through organizational or individual affiliation with TRB. Affiliates and library subscribers are eligible for substantial discounts. For further information, contact the Transportation Research Board Business Office, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20418 (telephone 202/334-3213; fax: 202/334-2519; or email TRBsales@nas.edu). Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to the procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This study was sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A process for setting, managing, and monitoring environmental windows for dredging projects / Committee for Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects. p. cm.—(Transportation Research Board Special report ; 262) ISBN 0-3-9-07244-1 1. Dredging—Environmental aspects. 2. Dredging spoil—Management. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee for Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects. II. National Research Council (U.S.). Transportation Research Board. III. Special report (National Research Council (U.S.). Transportation Research Board) ; 262. TC187 .P767 2002 2001059687 627′.73—dc21

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A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects: Special Report 262 THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both the Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is a unit of the National Research Council, which serves the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. The Board’s mission is to promote innovation and progress in transportation by stimulating and conducting research, facilitating the dissemination of information, and encouraging the implementation of research results. The Board’s varied activities annually engage more than 4,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S.Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation.

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A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects: Special Report 262 Committee for Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects Committee JERRY SCHUBEL, Chair, New England Aquarium, Boston, Massachusetts HENRY J. BOKUNIEWICZ, State University of New York at Stony Brook PETER F. BONTADELLI, JR., PFB Associates, Sacramento, California ROBERT J. DIAZ, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point MARCELO H. GARCIA, University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign RAM K. MOHAN, Blasland, Bouck, & Lee, Inc., Annapolis, Maryland DENISE J. REED, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana SUSAN-MARIE STEDMAN, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland NILS E. STOLPE, Garden State Seafood Association, Doylestown, Pennsylvania JOHN B. TORGAN, Save the Bay, Providence, Rhode Island THOMASH. WAKEMANIII, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York MICHAEL P. WEINSTEIN, New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, Fort Hancock Staff KRIS A. HOELLEN, Study Director, Transportation Research Board SUSAN ROBERTS, Senior Program Officer, Ocean Studies Board

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A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects: Special Report 262 Preface Environmental windows are those periods of the year when dredging and disposal activities may be carried out because regulators have determined that the adverse impacts associated with dredging and disposal can be reduced below critical thresholds during these periods. Environmental windows, therefore, are used as a management tool for reducing the potentially harmful impacts of dredging activities on aquatic resources. The first environmental windows were established more than 30 years ago and, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), are applied today to more than 80 percent of all federal dredging projects. Given the cumulative restrictions on dredging operations resulting from the application of environmental windows, USACE requested that the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board (TRB)— Marine Board conduct a workshop to explore the decision-making process used to establish environmental windows, as well as the consistency of the windows-setting process. The statement of task for the workshop is included in Chapter 1. The National Research Council established the Committee for the Workshop on Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects to design, oversee, and interpret the results of the workshop. Formed in June 2000, the committee comprised 12 members representing ports, dredging contractors, benthic and wetland ecologists, commercial fisheries experts, sedimentologists, ichthyologists, environmentalists, and state and federal regulatory agencies. During the course of a 1-year period, the committee met three times—the first to plan the workshop, the second to review the workshop results, and the third to prepare the committee’s findings and recommendations presented in this report. Members of the committee also participated in the Sea Grant Conference on Dredged Material Management: Options and Environmental Considerations and organized and participated in a half-day session at the 2001 National Dredging Team Conference. The committee used information obtained through case studies and outreach efforts conducted in preparation for the workshop to develop a draft template for a process for setting, managing, and monitoring environmental windows. This

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A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects: Special Report 262 draft template was presented during the workshop, held March 19–20, 2001. Participants at the workshop represented a cross-section of stakeholders involved in the windows-setting process, including federal and state government officials, port officials, representatives from environmental interest groups, dredging contractors, and academic experts from a variety of relevant fields. A listing of the workshop participants is provided in Appendix C. The draft template was reviewed and refined throughout the course of the workshop, and a summary of the workshop proceedings including the refined template was distributed to participants expressing a willingness to review and comment on its accuracy. The committee wishes to acknowledge the contributions of many individuals and organizations to the development of this report. Kris A. Hoellen managed the study and drafted the report under the guidance of the committee and the supervision of Stephen R. Godwin, Director of TRB’s Studies and Information Services Division. Susan Roberts provided liaison support from the Ocean Studies Board, Thomas Bigford served as liaison from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Douglas Clarke served as liaison and project sponsor from USACE; all three provided background materials and valuable insights to the committee. The committee also wishes to thank the organizers of the National Dredging Team Conference and the Sea Grant Conference on Dredged Material Management: Options and Environmental Considerations for allocating space and time for the committee’s outreach efforts. In addition, the committee would like to acknowledge personnel from USACE and NOAA who developed case studies that documented their experiences with environmental windows. The workshop benefited greatly from the contributions of a reaction panel whose members provided much-needed advice and guidance during critical points in the proceedings. Panel members were Suzanne Schwartz (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), Thomas Bigford (NOAA), Joseph Wilson (USACE), and Robert Van Dolah (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources). Finally, the committee is indebted to all those who participated in the workshop for both their time and continued interest. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

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A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects: Special Report 262 The committee thanks the following individuals for their review of this report: Steven Goldbeck, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; H. Thomas Kornegay, Port of Houston Authority; Charles A. Simenstad, University of Washington; and Ancil Taylor, Bean Stuyvesant LLC. Although these reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the findings and conclusions, nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lester A. Hoel, University of Virginia. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Suzanne Schneider, Assistant Executive Director of TRB, managed the report review process. The report was edited and prepared for publication under the supervision of Nancy Ackerman, Director of Reports and Editorial Services. Rona Briere edited the report. Special thanks go to Frances Holland for assistance with meeting arrangements and to Alisa Decatur for production of the final report.

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A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects: Special Report 262 Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   9      Background,   9      Purpose,   11      Organization of This Report,   11 2   Workshop Preparations, Design, and Major Points of Discussion   13      Workshop Preparations,   13      Workshop Design,   15      Major Points of Discussion,   16 3   Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows   19      Step 1,   22      Step 2,   24      Step 3,   26      Step 4,   32      Step 5,   32      Step 6,   33      Role of Adaptive Management,   33 4   Key Findings and Recommendations   34      Broad-Based Management Strategies,   34      Management Tools,   34      Proposed Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows,   35      Scientific Data and Information,   35      Opportunities for Cross-Training,   35

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A Process for Setting, Managing, and Monitoring Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects: Special Report 262      Structured Decision-Making Tools,   36      Funding,   36      Adaptive Management,   37     Appendixes   38 A   Summary of Workshop Sessions,   38 B   Glossary,   52 C   Environmental Windows for Dredging Projects Workshop,   57 D   Environmental Windows Workshop Dredging Project Case Study Data Form,   71 E   Environmental Windows: Forms Used to Solicit Suggestions for Improvements,   74     Study Committee Biographical Information   79