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Dredging and Sediment Management

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San Francisco Bay Long Term Management Strategy for Dredging (LTMS)

Every year, an average of 3-6 million cubic yards of sediments must be dredged to maintain safe navigation in and around San Francisco Bay. How to appropriately manage this large volume of dredged material has been a controversial environmental issue for many years. The San Francisco Bay Long Term Management Strategy (LTMS) is a cooperative effort of EPA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and stakeholders in the region to develop a new approach to dredging and dredged material disposal in the San Francisco Bay area. The LTMS serves as the “Regional Dredging Team” for the San Francisco area, implementing the National Dredging Policy in cooperation with the National Dredging Team.

The major goals of the LTMS are

  • Maintain in an economically and environmentally sound manner those channels necessary for navigation in San Francisco Bay and Estuary and eliminate unnecessary dredging activities in the Bay and Estuary;
  • Conduct dredged material disposal in the most environmentally sound manner;
  • Maximize the use of dredged material as a resource; and
  • Establish a cooperative permitting framework for dredging and dredged material disposal applications.

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In 1996, the LTMS agencies completed a Final Policy EIS/Programmatic EIR , selecting the new long-term plan for achieving these goals. The new approach calls for reducing disposal within San Francisco Bay over time, and increasing recycling of dredged material for "beneficial uses" including habitat restoration, levee maintenance, and construction fill. The 2001 LTMS Management Plan describes the detailed measures by which the LTMS agencies are implementing the EIS/EIR’s new long-term plan.

To implement the fourth goal above, the LTMS agencies established an interagency Dredged Material Management Office (DMMO). The DMMO serves as a "one stop shop" for Bay Area dredging permit applications. In 1998 the DMMO won a national Vice Presidential “Hammer” award for its sucess in streamlining the permitting process for dredging projects.

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