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. 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.