Department of Transportation

State Navigation Channels

Dredged Material Management

As the State of New Jersey's lead advisory agency on maritime issues, the New Jersey Department of Transportation's Office of Maritime Resources (NJDOT/OMR) is committed to working with private and public partners to better manage New Jersey's dredging challenges. Eight years of direct interface with the marine trades industry, national trade associations, business, civic and non-profit groups, municipalities, legislators and others has revealed a strong trend preference for the future of dredged material management in New Jersey. The trend revolves around a regional planning concept, based fundamentally at the county level, although New Jersey's waterways must be viewed as a part of a larger system, and watershed appropriate strategies must also be incorporated into the planning process. Comprehensive, watershed appropriate material management strategies are quickly becoming the preferred approach to the dredging project planning process. Ultimately, and to some extent unfortunately, the process itself will be overwhelmingly dictated by site-specific factors, and the local, state and even national public and political sentiment which influences natural resource management.

It must be stated, a system-wide approach to dredging, material management, and beneficial use can, has, and will provide a significant cost-savings to the tax-payers of New Jersey. Efficiently operating marinas are key to New Jersey's thriving tourism industry. There are over 500 marinas in the state, serving 210,000 New Jersey recreational boaters and countless out-of-state boaters. For reference, one southern New Jersey marina provided $1.5 million in sales tax revenue (2004) on boat sales alone and marina guests paid roughly $50,000 in fuel taxes. Cost-savings to New Jersey's businesses - not only marinas, but potentially construction and development companies, public works agencies, aggregate companies, sod farms, State agencies, landscape firms, and other - could be significant.

An example under investigation by NJDOT/OMR is the use of excavated dredged material in State sponsored flood control projects in central New Jersey. If dredged material can be provided at a competitive or lower cost than alternative fill, a cost-savings can be incurred by the State on two fronts: Directly through a comparative cost-savings and indirectly through increased confined disposal facilities (CDF) capacity. Additionally, the provision of fill may be able to fulfill the State's cost-share component of the Federal project. In sum, the benefits derived from simply planning for dredged material management are enormous.

Dredged material management is an evolving process that must incorporate the economic and recreational value of State navigation channel access, available placement and management options, and beneficial use applications. It is also a process that cannot be set in stone. Each region is different, has different needs, different perspectives and different opportunities. Overall, NJDOT/OMR cannot mandate that private marinas, municipalities, counties or other levels of government work together; therefore much of the material management process is driven by those who understand the value of New Jersey's waterways. Within such a complex system, NJDOT/OMR leadership is derived by statute, motivation to public service and even default.

Beneficial use of sediment is an OMR priority and is the linchpin for making more CDF capacity available for statewide dredging needs.  The following links will allow you to view the final report on a material characterization survey of sediment in several NJ CDFs: 

Characterization of Dredged Material Stored in NJ Confined Disposal Facilities, Final Report March 2007 (24.6m)

Appendix A, Sampling and Composite Plan (9.1m)

Appendix B, Detailed Analytical Results (10.4m)

Since CDFs are in remote locations, and contain a mixture of many different sediment types, it is necessary to have technology that is mobile and compact. A demonstration (pdf, 30.5mb) of separation and blending technology was performed at one of the CDFs along the Cape May canal. Results indicate that the cost of this would exceed the value of the aggregate excavated, however this cost is offset by the value of the channels dredged.

Last updated date: August 7, 2019 9:13 AM