Migration of Dredged Material Mounds: Predictions Based on Field Measurements of Waves, Currents, and Suspended Sediments, Brunswick, GA
Johnson, Charley R.
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The state of Georgia has two large ports that are accessed by way of navigable entrance channels. One of these ports is located in Brunswick, Georgia, and is maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers via periodic dredging. Sediments removed from the channel are typically pumped several miles offshore of Brunswick and placed in dredged material mounds, thus removing the sediment from the littoral cycle. This offshore placement, while being the most economically viable method, often negatively impacts the sediment budget of the coastal region and causes erosion downdrift of the channel, specifically along Jekyll Island. Onshore placement of the dredged material is not feasible due to increased associated costs and the high fraction of fines present in the material; thus, nearshore placement is a potentially viable alternative. Nearshore placement could possibly reduce erosion rates and provide protection to property from waves and storms. The USACE initiated a thorough field data collection campaign in 2002 to study the possibility of beneficial placement of dredged material. The author analyzed the existing data to predict the rate and direction of sediment movement away from an existing dredge mound. These predictions are then compared to bathymetric survey data in an effort to validate the results and methodologies used for sediment transport predictions. The ultimate goal is to use the results of this study along with numerical models currently being developed by the Corps to assess the possibility of sediments being transported toward the shore thus re-entering the littoral cycle and providing a benefit to the coast of Georgia.