U.S. Department of Defense


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Reine, K., et al. Fishery resource utilization of a restored estuarine borrow pit: A beneficial use of dredged material case study. Mar. Pollut. Bull. (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.05.031


Numerous pits in coastal waters are subject to degraded water quality and benthic habitat conditions, resulting in degraded fish habitat. A pit in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey (USA) was partially filled with dredged sediment to increase flushing, alleviate hypoxia, and enhance benthic assemblages. Restoration objectives were assessed in terms of benthic community parameters and fishery resource occupation. Restoration resulted in increased benthic diversity (bottom samples) and the absence of water column stratification. Fisheries resources occupied the entire water column, unlike pre-restoration conditions where finfish tended to avoid the lower water column. The partial restoration option effectively reproduced an existing borrow pit configuration (Hole #5, control), by decreasing total depth from ‒11 m to ‒5.5 m, thereby creating a habitat less susceptible to hypoxic/anoxic conditions, while retaining sufficient vertical relief to maintain associations with juvenile weakfish and other forage fishes. Partially filling pits using dredged material represents a viable restoration alternative.