Section 1122 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 directs the Secretary of the Army, no later than 90 days after the enactment of this law (which took place on December 16, 2016), to establish a pilot program to recommend ten projects for the beneficial use of the tons of dredged material generated by the operations of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).

On February 9, the Corps published a Federal Register notice which solicits the submission of ten projects that will address the beneficial use of dredged materials. Proposals must be submitted to Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on or before March 12, 2018. The Corps generates many tons of dredged material, so it makes sense to see if there are truly beneficial uses for this material.

The Congress was interested in learning how dredged material could be used for such purposes as reducing storm damage to property and infrastructure; promoting public safety; protecting, restoring, and creating aquatic ecosystem habitats; stabilizing stream systems and enhancing shorelines; promoting recreation; supporting risk management adaptation strategies; and reducing the costs of dredging and dredged material for construction or fill material, civic improvement objectives, and other “innovative uses and placement alternatives.”

According to the notice, the Corps has prepared guidance which implements Section 1122, and the pilot program must be carried out in consultation with relevant state agencies and will be subject to applicable cost-sharing requirements. Section 1122 projects must maximize the beneficial placement of dredged material from navigation channels and incorporate, to the maximum extent practicable, two or more Federal navigation, flood control, of environmental restoration projects.