Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on March 4, 2022
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on May 18, 2022
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 22, 2022
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports regional sediment management for watershed and coastal zones to ensure ecosystem preservation and sustainable development. Regional sediment management is critical to restoring hydrogeomorphic processes within a watershed, and reducing ecosystem vulnerability, which is essential to ecosystem vitality, balance, and diversity. ASCE supports:
- Managing sediments effectively to mitigate adverse impacts.
- Managing sediments using regional sediment inventories and sediment budgets that consider long-term sustainable inputs, movements, uses, and outputs throughout the system.
- Identifying solutions to mitigate adverse impacts to hydrogeomorphic processes and affected sediment regimes through collaboration between government entities and stakeholders of projects and activities that affect sediment resources.
- Developing mechanisms to resolve conflicts resulting from multiple competing demands for the same sediment source through the collaboration between government entities and stakeholders.
- Establishing regional sediment management activities that focus on restoring natural sediment transport previously disrupted by unsustainable construction and practices.
- Establishing property rights for sediment and the proper legal mechanisms needed to allocate and transfer sediment resources for varying uses through the collaboration between government entities and stakeholders.
- The partnering of governments, regulatory agencies, and private entities responsible for developing, permitting, and executing projects to manage sediments effectively on a regional scale.
Regional sediment management (RSM) is project management approach that incorporates the principles of integrated watershed resources management and improved dredged material management. RSM recognizes sediment as a resource, and the need to consider projects and actions affecting sediment in a regional context.
Sediment movement and deposition on a regional scale are integral to the key hydrogeomorphic processes critical to ecosystem health associated with waterways and aquatic habitats. Long-term alterations of sediment regimes can significantly change modify critical habitat, stress ecosystem integrity and vitality, and cause regional-scale ecosystem collapse. Degraded ecosystem health translates into an increased risk to life and property, and as increased costs in addressing related social, economic, and environmental problems. Linking sediment management needs and opportunities can enhance the benefits of multiple projects and activities within a region, both economically and environmentally.
RSM is critical for preserving and restoring wetlands and other ecosystems. It is also essential restore and support the chemical, physical, and biological integrity and biodiversity of waters and associated aquatic habitats. RSM is integral in the effective implementation of the watershed approach to managing water resources. RSM integrates actions that affect the erosion, transport, deposition, and sediment removal in a region. Knowledge of the sediment system in a region is essential for making local water resource project decisions and setting up longer-range management strategies. Effective implementation of RSM will restore vital hydrogeomorphic processes with related ecological and social benefits.
This policy has worldwide application
ASCE Policy Statement 522
First Approved in 2007