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Operational considerations for implementing regional sediment management plans in the northern Gulf of Mexico

November 26, 2015

Development of a comprehensive and stakeholder-driven Regional Sediment Management plan can provide the basis for long-term sustainable resource use and protection. This paper highlights three operational components that can positively influence sediment management at a regional scale, including (1) integration of an operational sediment budget, (2) development of a monitoring and adaptive management plan, and (3) development of a regional sediment availability and allocation program. These components seek to incorporate science and adaptive management through implementation of an organized and well-documented decision making process. They represent a coordinated framework that could serve as a guide for unifying financial investments in regional sediment management plans. Collectively, they establish an integrated process for addressing uncertainties about future system change in light of shrinking federal and state budgets, competing demands for sediment resources within riverine and marine waters, and policy considerations related to sediment/water use (e.g., navigation and commerce versus environmental management).