Flawed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies on dredging impact

In addition to that we already have within Marine Dredging Briefing Paper and in the listing of scientific papers from around the world in the Marine Aggregate Dredging section, a new paper further evidences that we have long found, that much of the research on the damage resulting from offshore aggregate dredging (or, as these reports usually show, the non-effects) are produced by those profiting from this practice.

The situation we have in the UK appears the same in the USA as shown by the paper ‘Flawed studies assess dredge-and-fill programs to protect coastlines’ published in the October 2005 issue of BioScience, the monthly journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, appears to show.

Marine scientists Charles H. Peterson of the University of North Carolina and Melanie J. Bishop, now of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, have reported that, despite expensive,  multidecal monitoring, the majority of studies of the ecological impacts of beach nourishment are scientifically inadequate and suffer from critical flaws, improper analyses, and unjustified interpretations.

Peterson and Bishop point out how the activity can bury shallow reefs and degrade other beach habitats, depressing nesting in sea turtles and reducing the densities of prey for shorebirds, fishes, and crabs, and that the US Army Corps of Engineers and state permitting agencies, which oversee most of the monitoring studies, do not have expertise adequate to assess them.

Peterson and Bishop conclude that reform of agency practices is urgently needed as evidence of the cumulative risk of severe ecological impacts grows. Their survey discovered that monitoring is typically conducted by project promoters with no independent peer review. See also www.aibs.org

Whilst dredging for beach restoration in the USA is seen to have such adverse impact, this must be quite small when compared to the far greater effect in the UK where massive commercial quantities of aggregate have been dredged over many years.

Pat Gowen, 6th November 2005

Please do share this

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS