Research to Support Design and Siting of Deposition Areas for Dredged Material from the Rodanthe Emergency Channel

This proposal from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Coastal Studies Institute, administered by East Carolina University is to assist the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Ferry Division with assessing the use of dredged material and minimizing negative impacts of dredge material deposition. In many coastal systems, sediment is a critical commodity that allows habitats to maintain themselves in the face of long and short-term changes in water levels. In areas with high value habitats such as submerged aquatic vegetation, finding low impact sites to deposit sediments is a challenge. Design of deposition sites that minimize environmental damage and maximize environmental benefits is necessarily an interdisciplinary venture. This project has assembled a team to address the full suite of factors that must be considered in selecting a spill deposition site with the following objectives and tasks: (1) map ecological, geological, physical and maritime heritage attributes of the area inland of the Rodanthe Channel; (2) develop a material deposition site selection matrix that favors reducing negative ecological, geological and anthropological impacts; (3) design material deposition site plans including location, size, morphology, ecological restoration and recreational attributes; (4) evaluate the net impacts of potential material deposition site plans, including but not limited to negative and positive ecological, geological and anthropological impacts; and (5) design and execute an education campaign to inform the local and regional constituents about the rationale and costs and benefits of dredging and depositing the material from the Rodanthe Emergency Ferry Channel. This project will result in an improved understanding of the geological, ecological and anthropological factors affecting siting of dredge material deposition sites in shallow coastal waters. Specifically we will provide a decision framework to make and defend decisions regarding dredge material deposition sites for the Rodanthe Emergency Channel