From Oceana Belize

Here Are 6 Facts You Should Know About Dredging

What Is Dredging?
Dredging removes sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, and other water bodies (NOAA).

Why Is Dredging Used?
At times, dredging may be necessary because sand and silt naturally wash downstream and can fill up channels and harbors (NOAA). In other instances, dredging is used in development to create ports, in land reclamation, or to extract valuable minerals like gold.

Dangers of Dredging
Marine environments are complex and removing large areas of the sea floor damages our ecosystems, particularly fish nurseries and coral reefs, when the stirred-up sediment settles.

Stirring up sediment significantly changes the habitat of the marine life living in that area and introduces harmful organisms or elements that might have been buried which can spread.

Dangers of Ocean Dumping
Based on Belize's water circulation patterns, there is no'safe'depth or location near our reefs where settling sediment would not smother marine life.

Examples of Risk Mitigation Efforts & Success Rates
Silt curtains are often used to capture dredged sediment. Monitoring of "small" dredging efforts have shown silt curtains are not always effective, and in many cases they are either unused or used improperly. Also, there are few government staff assigned to monitor projects nationwide.

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Kenrick Williams - [email protected]
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