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 (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The members of the panel 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 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.
The program described in this report is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 14-35-0001-30475 between the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Interior and the National Academy of Sciences.
Limited copies are available from:
Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems
National Research Council
2101 Constitution Avenue
Washington, DC 20418
Additional copies are available for sale from:
National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Avenue Box 285 Washington, D.C. 20055 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area)
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 94-66886
International Standard Book Number 0-309-04843-5
Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Dr. William E. Odum, a distinguished expert in ecology, was a member of the committee until his death in 1991. His contributions to the committee and commitment to the ecology discipline and his students were substantial. His sudden, untimely death touched each committee member deeply. We have lost a good friend; the scientific and academic communities have lost a respected leader.
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. Upon 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. Robert M. White 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 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 Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN MARINE HABITAT PROTECTION AND ENHANCEMENT
THOMAS A. SANDS,
Adams and Reese, New Orleans, Louisiana
DEWITT D. BARLOW, III,
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, Oak Brook, Illinois
JOHN MARK DEAN,
University of South Carolina, Columbia
Tulane Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana
MARY C. LANDIN,
U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi
ROY R. LEWIS, III,
Lewis Environmental Services, Inc., Tampa, Florida
ASHISH J. MEHTA,
University of Florida, Gainesville
JOHN M. NICHOL, Consultant,
Long Beach, California
WILLIAM E. ODUM,
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia (until April, 1991)
NAS, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
R. EUGENE TURNER,
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
KAREN S. KLIMA,
Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wayne Young, Project Officer (from August 1990)
Paul M. Scholz (until August 1990)
Delphine D. Glaze, Administrative Assistant
Brooks Moriarty, Research Assistant
Sheila Mulvihill, Editorial Consultant
JERRY R. SCHUBEL, Chairman,
State University of New York at Stony Brook
JERRY A. ASPLAND,
Arco Marine, Inc., Long Beach, California
ANNE D. AYLWARD,
National Commission on Intermodal Transportation, Alexandria, Virginia
ROBERT G. BEA, NAE,
University of California at Berkeley
MARK Y. BERMAN,
Amoco Production Company, Houston, Texas
JOHN W. BOYLSTON,
Argent Marine Operations, Inc., Solomons, Maryland
JAMES M. COLEMAN, NAE,
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
WILLIAM M. EICHBAUM,
World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C.
EDWARD D. GOLDBERG, NAS,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, LaJolla, California
Lemoyne College and Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cazenovia, New York
ROBERT W. KNECHT,
University of Delaware, Newark
HENRY S. MARCUS,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
ASHISH J. MEHTA,
University of Florida, Gainesville
J. BRADFORD MOONEY, NAE,
Consultant to Ocean Engineering and Research Management, Fort Pierce, Florida
STEPHEN F. SCHMIDT,
American President Lines, Ltd., Oakland, California
STEPHANIE R. THORNTON,
Coastal Resources Center, San Francisco, California
JUDITH S. WEIS,
Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey
ALAN G. YOUNG,
Fugro-McClelland BV, Houston, Texas
CHARLES A. BOOKMAN, Director
DONALD W. PERKINS, Associate Director
DORIS C. HOLMES, Staff Associate
This report addresses the role of technology in protecting and restoring marine habitat. The report finds that coastal engineering can and should play a positive role in protection and restoration work. However, the use of technology for these purposes is not a substitute for prudent and wise stewardship of marine resources. At the rate that coastal areas are being developed for industrial, commercial, and residential uses, and with significant losses from natural erosion and subsidence, there is no offsetting engineering fix to achieve "no net loss" of marine habitat. The positive role that the report envisions for coastal engineering can only fully develop as part of a larger national strategy for protection and preservation of marine habitats as vital natural resources.
Sound ecological principles need to be applied in measures to protect or restore marine habitats. Because of the complexity of natural ecosystems, full restoration of natural functions at altered or disturbed sites can take years, and is feasible in only some situations. Nevertheless, coastal engineering techniques and technology, including structures and equipment, can be applied at suitable sites to protect them, establish the physical conditions essential for enhancement or restoration, or assist in recolonization.
All these factors need to be considered in planning decisions to develop, and to protect marine habitat. In sum, technology has an important role to play in protecting and restoring marine habitats as one element of a national strategy to improve the management of these essential natural resources.
Thomas A. Sands, Chairman
The nation's estuaries, coastal wetlands, and nearshore submerged areas are precious national resources. They provide marine habitats that are critical not only to the production and replenishment of living marine resources generally, but also to commercial and recreational fisheries, non-consumptive recreation in the coastal zone, and natural protection against an advancing sea. Despite their value and government controls and programs, these habitats are being degraded at an alarming rate. They are altered by natural processes such as erosion and subsidence and are directly or indirectly threatened by human activity, including acceleration of natural phenomena associated with human-related alteration of physical processes. A substantial national effort is being directed to understand these losses and effects through research and to correct them through regulation as a management strategy. Scientific knowledge and engineering efforts are being applied to the problem as well, but not always harmoniously. Although much has been learned from pilot projects, and there is considerable experience in the use of dredged material and other areas, more could be done with existing knowledge and expertise to enhance, protect, restore, and create marine habitats. Advancing the state of practice involves creating an institutional and academic climate for advancing policy and procedural change, establishing goals and objectives, developing cooperation among involved organizations, enlisting collaboration among involved scientific and engineering disciplines, adapting technology and facilitating innovation through experimentation, transferring information
within and among disciplines, implementing incentive-based solutions, and measuring performance.
THE NRC STUDY
On its own initiative and as a result of informal discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Marine Board determined the need to explore the role of coastal engineering in enhancing and restoring marine and estuarine habitats and contiguous shorelines within the coastal zone. These areas include marine wetlands such as tidal marshes, emergent wetlands, sea grass beds, kelp forests, and mangrove swamps. Also included are beaches, shallow inshore and near-shore submerged environments, and tidal and intertidal flats. Offshore marine habitat is outside the boundaries of this assessment except for artificial reefs and offshore berms on the continental shelf. The National Research Council (NRC) convened the Committee on the Role of Technology in Marine Habitat Protection and Enhancement under the auspices of the Marine Board of the Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems.
Committee members were selected for their expertise and their wide range of experience and viewpoints. The principle guiding the constitution of the committee and its work, consistent with NRC policy, was not to exclude members with potential biases that might accompany expertise vital to the study, but to seek balance and fair treatment. Committee members were selected for their expertise in coastal engineering, coastal and estuarine science, wetlands mitigation and restoration, dredging technology, policy for and management of living marine resources, and environmental law. Academic, industrial, government, scientific, and engineering perspectives are also reflected in the committee's composition. Biographies of committee members are provided in Appendix A.
The committee was assisted by the National Marine Fisheries Service of NOAA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA, and the USFWS, all of which designated liaison representatives.
The committee was asked by the NRC to conduct a multidisciplinary assessment of the needs for a coastal engineering strategy to preserve, protect, enhance, restore, and, where necessary, create marine habitats to mitigate or reverse coastal marine habitat losses. Included in the scope of study are:
the state of coastal engineering practice in marine habitat management and the potential for protection, enhancement, creation, and restoration of marine habitats;
future needs and opportunities to restore and enhance habitat through engineering approaches and innovative applications of technology (including projects that combine other engineering objectives with habitat enhancement);
a definition of engineering community, scientific community, and government roles in advancing technical and innovative approaches to the protection and restoration of these habitats;
environmental conflicts, such as those surrounding dredged material placement and water pollution control from nonpoint and uncontrolled sources, which may directly affect marine habitats;
management and maintenance needs for natural and reconstructed marine habitats; and
the need for collaboration between coastal and ecological sciences and coastal engineering.
The assessment is an initial examination of the application of coastal engineering technology in marine habitat management. Emphasis is given to the broad suite of dredging and marine sediment placement issues because of their importance to the nation, the wealth of available information on this topic, dredging and dredged material responsibilities of project sponsors, and the disposal of large quantities of nontoxic dredged marine sediments as a waste in lieu of their use in marine habitat restoration work. Marine wetlands include marshes, emergent wetlands, seagrass beds, mangrove swamps, and kelp forests. Some of these are not commonly recognized as wetlands by the public, but are emphasized in the report because of their biological importance. Marshes were given special treatment because of their importance as nurseries for many species and their fragile nature. However, as much attention was given to other aspects of marine habitat management as supported by the available information. The report does not provide a detailed technical analysis of individual technologies, nor does it provide an assessment of scientific theory. Rather, it provides a scientifically and technically based examination of the issues and a strategic vision for advancing the state of practice.
The committee reviewed available data and literature and conducted site visits to determine the state of practice of marine habitat management. The committee also solicited data and views and met with expert practitioners and researchers in federal, regional, state and local government agencies; research institutions; public interest groups; and professional societies. This activity was supplemented by visits to the Gulf Coast and the San Francisco Bay Area to examine individual projects. Case studies of specific projects and technologies are included as Appendix B. A source reference table (Appendix C) and an extensive bibliography are included to facilitate identification and practical use of these materials.
The audience for which this report was prepared consists of policy and project decisionmakers; members of the technical community associated with
waterway and coastal design, construction, and maintenance; scientists and engineers concerned with design, construction, and maintenance of marine habitat projects; and the general public. Understanding the role of coastal engineering in marine habitat management requires an understanding of both the science and the physical processes of marine systems.
Chapter 1 frames the loss and degradation of marine habitats in the context of natural and human processes and identifies the need for engineering and science to work together to expand and enhance marine habitat management.
Chapter 2 provides scientific and engineering perspectives on marine habitat management.
Chapter 3 discusses engineering practices in the coastal zone as they pertain to the protection, enhancement, restoration and creation of marine habitats.
Chapter 4 discusses lessons learned from committee-prepared case studies of marine habitat projects.
Chapter 5 discusses institutional factors that inhibit project decision making and implementation and suggests ways to overcome these obstacles.
Chapter 6 examines the criteria used to assess marine habitat projects. It offers a multidisciplinary approach for achieving project objectives through improved planning and implementation.
Chapter 7 identifies research needed to improve the scientific basis and engineering capabilities for application to marine habitat protection and restoration.
Chapter 8 presents the committee's conclusions regarding the state of practice and recommendations to foster and enhance the interdisciplinary teamwork needed to improve the role of coastal engineering in marine habitat management.
The committee gratefully acknowledges the contributions of time and information provide by liaison representatives, their agencies, and the many individuals within and outside government who are interested in the role of engineering and technology in protecting and improving marine habitat. The committee is especially indebted to the many practitioners in the restoration industry, permitting and resource agencies, academia, and environmental organizations who provided detailed descriptions of projects and technologies as well as a wealth of reference materials not widely available.
John Hall, National Marine Fisheries Service, participated in West Coast site visits and provided technical support and reference materials throughout the study. William R. Murden, NAE, Murden Marine, provided valuable insight on dredging technology, underwater berms, and use of dredged materials in habitat protection and restoration and contributed to development of underwater water berm case study material. Michael N. Josselyn, Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, helped in organizing the committee's West Coast meeting and field trips, served as panel moderator, and hosted site visits. The support of the Mississippi Valley Commission for assessment of Gulf Coast marine habitat needs is also greatly appreciated.
Special thanks are extended to the many members of the scientific, engineering, and academic communities and public interest groups who met with the committee and provided scientific, technical, and policy advice on the state of practice of habitat protection and restoration. The extraordinary cooperation and interest of so many knowledgeable individuals were both gratifying and essential.
BOXES, FIGURES, AND TABLES, USED IN THIS REPORT
Terms Used in This Report
The Meaning of Restoration of Marine Habitats and Relationship to the Sediment Stream and Dredged Material
Composition of Dredged Material
The Army Corps of Engineers Approach to Using Dredged Material
Intertidal Marsh Functions
Professional Regulation and Certification Terms
The domain and role of coastal engineering.
Status in 1978 of three selected splays totaling 559 acres in Lower Mississippi River Delta following levee breaches.
Status in 1988 of selected splay development of lower Mississippi River delta after 10 years. Intertidal wetlands acreage increased from 559 to 1,756 acres.
General locations of habitat protection and restoration projects and applications of technology examined in Chapter 4.
Decision model for achieving success in marine habitat protection and restoration projects.
Site of shrimp habitat destruction and completed and active Surface Water Improvement and Management Act restoration sites in Tampa Bay.
Sites of Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection projects.
Locations of San Francisco restorations sites visited where dredged material was used or planned.