Gulf of Mexico Foundation
Gulf Regional Sediment Management Master Plan
2009 GOMA Project
Habitat conservation and restoration are critical needs throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea region in all of the territories
of the United States. Unfortunately, habitat restoration is not keeping pace with the loss and degradation of coastal habitats nor
currently sufficient to sustain critical ecological services such as storm surge reduction and fisheries production. It is recognized
that sediments are an integral element of a regional system involving natural processes which must be considered when planning and
managing restoration activities. The HCRT has acknowledged that sediment resources are integral to accomplishing many Alliance
restoration initiatives and that there is a need for a better understanding of regional sediment systems and processes to inform
decisions about projects and actions that sediment resources. Developing a sediment management plan will provide guidelines
for more effective management of sediment resources, recognizing they are a part of a regional system involving natural processes
and dredging activities.
The effects of managing sediment on regional ecological processes are not well understood. Around the Gulf, sediment, energy and ecological
systems are integrated and connected. It is important to find the synergies between sediment management needs and restoration needs.
The main focuses are typically geared towards dredging and filling operations, however, this in not the only potential source of sediment.
There exists a basic need to understand how sediment flows through the natural systems in relation to regional ecological processes.
With this understanding, we can begin to balance available sediment resources with sediment needs in the context of habitat conservation
What You Can Do:
The RSM approach provides the ability to coordinate and collaborate; integrate numerous tools, technology, and data; leverage funding;
and enhance partnerships. When considering conservation and restoration opportunities it essential to continually be examining how the
RSM approach and philosophies can be implemented and extended into other projects and shared with other stakeholders. Implementing the
RSM approach as part of normal business practice is critical towards improving sediment management planning, design, and maintenance
in a regional context.
The creation of a Gulf Regional Sediment Management Master Plan (GRSMMP) for managing sediment resources on a regional scale emphasizes the
need for a comprehensive understanding of regional sediment systems and processes. The plan will be beneficial to provide guidelines
using the understanding of sediment dynamics (inputs, outputs, movement) to manage sediment resources towards accomplishing environmental
restoration, conservation, and preservation, while reducing coastal erosion, storm damages, and associated costs of sediment management.
The Plan will also provide an inventory of potential sediment sources in connection with sediment needs. This information will provide
a basis for assessing competing needs for sediment, enhance abilities to make informed cooperative management decisions, and develop
regional strategies. These focus areas include:
- Ecological Considerations - Examines the relationship between sediment and ecology in the context of RSM to aid in understanding
managing sediment affect regional ecological processes.
- Sediment Resources - Addresses sediment transport processes, sediment budget issues, and evaluates studies that have been
done in terms of how it might support RSM. Also includes efforts to identify and summarize existing programs, studies,
and databases that can provide information concerning sediment resources throughout the Gulf.
Focus areas include sediment inventories, sediment budgets, and dredging activities.
- Data Information Management
- Examines ways and opportunities to collaborate and share data throughout all levels of government
and the numerous interested stakeholders.
- Policies, Authorities, and Funding
- Identifies and examines existing authorities and policies and presents recommendations on
how they can provide flexibility to facilitate the RSM approach.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Ryan Fikes, M.S.
Project Director, HCRT
Gulf of Mexico Foundation
James Pahl, Ph.D.
Louisiana State Lead, HCRT
Office of Coastal Protection & Restoration
Louisiana Co-Lead, HCRT
LA Dept of Natural Resources
Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free - (361) 882-3939 phone - (361) 882-1262 fax
webmaster: Carrie Robertson