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Jun
15
2017

Does dredging help local wildlife in the long run?

dredging wildlife floridaClay, sand, and silt left behind from dredging have been repurposed as marshes and wildlife habitats. Benefits to local wildlife include the removal of contaminated sediments and their relocation to safe, contained areas, and the possible improvement of water quality made by the restoration of water depth and flow. 

There can be significant beneficial improvements from the use of clean maintenance dredgings to enhance mudflat and saltmarsh habitats and to mitigate losses of intertidal land through sea level rise and capital dredging operations.

A few ways dredging helps local wildlife are:

  • 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 favorably affect marine life.
  • After the suspended sediments settle, the result is the smothering or blanketing of subtidal communities and or 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 occurs relatively quickly, and a more rapid recovery of communities has been observed in areas exposed to periodic disturbances, such as maintained channels.
  • In general, recovery times increase 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 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.

Source

Apr
27
2017

This Year's Warm Winter May Cause a Algae Blooms to Skyrocket

algae bloom floridaThere are several factors that determine the level of each year’s algae bloom in Florida and its relative harmfulness. Warmer than average winters, with no freezing temperatures to complete a normal nature cycle could really spell trouble for Florida waterways, beginning as early as this spring.

The EPA warns:

Harmful algae usually bloom during the warm summer season or when water temperatures are warmer than usual. Warmer water due to climate change might favor harmful algae in some of ways:

  • Toxic blue-green algae prefer warmer water.
  • Warmer temperatures prevent water from mixing, allowing algae to grow thicker and faster.
  • Warmer water is easier for small organisms to move through and allows algae to float to the surface faster.
  • Algal blooms absorb sunlight, making water even warmer and promoting more blooms.
  • Climate change might lead to more droughts, which make freshwater saltier. This can cause marine algae to invade freshwater ecosystems. In the Southwestern and South Central United States, toxic marine algae have been killing fish in freshwater lakes since 2000.
  • Algae need carbon dioxide to survive. Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air and water can lead to rapid growth of algae, especially toxic blue-green algae that can float to the surface of the water.
  • Climate change might affect rainfall patterns, leading to alternating periods of drought and intense storms. This can cause more nutrient runoff into waterbodies, feeding more algal blooms.
  • Drought conditions can severely impact waterways both vast and small as was the case with the Mississippi River after one of the worst droughts in recorded history. The Army Corps of Engineers deployed more than a dozen dredging vessels to address the drought’s affect on the Mississippi to make the river, channels, and surrounding waterways passable once more. Dredging was beneficial on a massive scale in the case of the Mississippi, but dredging after a drought is advantageous for all waterways. A few benefits of dredging after a drought include:
  • Marine Life Protection - When water levels deplete in any natural body of water, marine plant and animal life are deprived of vital oxygen they need to survive. Hundreds - if not thousands of fish die off, causing a complete disruption in the waterway’s ecosystem. Dredging creates ideal environments for fish and marine life by creating pockets in the bottoms of riverbeds and streams.
  • Access to Recreation and Enjoyment - When water levels deplete in a waterway typically enjoyed by people, activities cease. Dredging increases recreational opportunities for fishing, boating, windsurfing, and swimming, among other activities.
  • Control Unsightly Overgrowth - while drought causes water to deplete, enough moisture stays behind in even an almost completely “dried out” lake or pond to promote the rapid growth of algae and weeds. Dredging increases the irrigation storage capacity and controls unsightly weed or algae growth.
  • Prevent Shoreline Erosion and Improve Water Health- When a body of water is dredged, the chances of shoreline erosion are reduced. The sediment contains pollutants from industrial runoff and significantly affects the water quality. When pollutants and sediments are removed, the overall health of the body of water improves.
  • We are looking at a new day and age when it comes to climate, weather, and what we can predict. The safest way to protect your Florida waterway is by having it dredged today.
Jan
26
2017

The benefits of dredging after a drought

drought dredgingDrought conditions can severely impact waterways both vast and small as was the case with the Mississippi River after one of the worst droughts in recorded history. The Army Corps of Engineers deployed more than a dozen dredging vessels to address the drought’s affect on the Mississippi to make the river, channels, and surrounding waterways passable once more. Dredging was beneficial on a massive scale in the case of the Mississippi, but dredging after a drought is advantageous for all waterways. A few benefits of dredging after a drought include:

Marine Life Protection - When water levels deplete in any natural body of water, marine plant and animal life are deprived of vital oxygen they need to survive. Hundreds - if not thousands of fish die off, causing a complete disruption in the waterway’s ecosystem. Dredging creates ideal environments for fish and marine life by creating pockets in the bottoms of riverbeds and streams.

Access to Recreation and Enjoyment - When water levels deplete in a waterway typically enjoyed by people, activities cease. Dredging increases recreational opportunities for fishing, boating, windsurfing and swimming, among other activities.

Control Unsightly Overgrowth - while drought causes water to deplete, enough moisture stays behind in even an almost completely “dried out” lake or pond to promote the rapid growth of algae and weeds. Dredging increases the irrigation storage capacity and controls unsightly weed or algae growth.

Prevent Shoreline Erosion and Improve Water Health- When a body of water is dredged, the chances of shoreline erosion are reduced. Sediment contains pollutants from industrial runoff and significantly affects the water quality. When pollutants and sediments are removed, the overall health of the body of water improves.

Sep
22
2016

Florida’s Troubling Algae Bloom - What’s The Scoop?

florida algae bloomMany Floridians are unaware of a “guacamole-thick” toxic algae has been strangling our state’s waterways and polluting our beaches. This algae bloom has been happening since late June. The Army Corps of Engineers have spent months siphoning off water that is rich in nutrients from Lake Okeechobee in a preservation effort.

Cyanobacteria blooms usually form in warm water polluted with nutrients found in fertilizers. These include phosphorus and nitrogen. The rainfall and the runoff from the rain facilitate the pollution, and the result is an algae bloom. In the Lake Okeechobee situation, the lake rose a full nine inches in depth. This increase in lake depth occurred just before what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deemed the “hottest June on record in the contiguous United States” [source]

According to an NPR Report: The greatest concern about the blue-green algae is its toxicity. Humans and animals that come into contact with it and it could be harmful to them. The algae typically thrive in freshwater. Under certain conditions, the bacteria can release a wide variety of toxins that affect the liver and nervous system.

Because of the massive algae bloom, Florida Governor Rick Scott has asked President Obama to declare a federal emergency and make federal emergency funds available. The White House rejected the request, saying Florida has the resources to handle the problem itself. Governor Scott is appealing the decision.

The reason it has grown beyond bodies of freshwater and is reaching beaches is concerning. In January, record rains prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start releasing the polluted water into rivers and estuaries in an attempt to keep Lake Okeechobee from overflowing. The algae bloom became so extensive that it reached area beaches.

Governor Scott’s proposed solution is reducing nutrient runoff by getting homeowners off of septic tanks and onto sewer lines. According to the CDC, people should avoid exposure to cyanobacterial HABs. The center recommends that people refrain from swimming, water skiing or boating in areas where the water is discolored or where foam, scum, or mats of algae are visible on the water.

If you do swim in water that might have algae, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible. The same goes for pets and livestock. 

The CDC also says to avoid irrigating lawns or golf courses with pond water that looks scummy or smells bad and recommends that any "musty" smell or taste in your drinking water be reported to your local water utility.

 

Sep
01
2016

C&M Dredging Featured on Dredging Today

C&M Dredging was proudly featured as Dredging Today's "Picture of the Day" feature on August 22, 2014, focusing on our Ellicott 360SL Dredger at work on the Jackson Lake Restoration Project in Tennessee. To view the picture and article visit Dredging Today's website by CLICKING HERE.

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