Dredging (Environmental Law) Law and Legal Definition

Dredging is the process of removal of mud from the bottom of water bodies. Environmentalists claim the process of dredging can disturb the ecosystem and can cause silting that kills aquatic life. Proponents claim that without dredging, supply lines for many products would be eliminated and that many of our ports and waterways would be unnavigable, and diminish much recreation and tourism due to eroision of beaches changed course or rivers and lakes being filled in. Proponents also claim that the construction industry would be hurt by lack of inexpensive sand and gravel, and many civil works projects such as important bridges and reservoirs would be eliminated. Dredging activities may be subject to regulation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

According to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the Secretary of the Army can issue permits, after notice and opportunity for public hearings for the discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigable waters at specified disposal sites.