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Integrating adaptive environmental management into dredging projects

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Author(s): Central Dredging Association (CEDA)

The Central Dredging Association (CEDA) is committed to environmentally responsible management of dredging projects and their recent position paper outlines concepts of integrating Adaptive Management (AM) for the enhancement of the environment into dredging activities (inclusive of placement / disposal / reclamation). This paper provides a summary of the Position Paper


Dredging projects are often permitted with license conditions or regulations based on assessment of potential environmental effects. In some cases strict thresholds might be applied to assure environmental performance with levels deemed to be acceptable, based on findings of impact assessments. In other cases less clear environmental limits are specified: sometimes due to uncertainty about effect on and responses by nature, caused by inability to fully appreciate and judge environmental conditions and potential project effects; or for other reasons such as sharing responsibilities and risk.

For those dredging projects where the outcome is less certain or accompanied by a low confidence in the prediction of effects, a sequence of more intense and targeted monitoring, impact assessment and management actions might be implemented on a continuous or regular basis for the duration of (and after) the project, in order to keep project expectations and implementation requirements more manageable. This sequence of activities is jointly understood as ‘Adaptive Management’ (AM). AM helps to achieve…

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