US Army Corps of Engineers
Institute for Water Resources

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Value to the Nation

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Navigation: Environmental Benefits

USACE carefully evaluates the environmental impact of each navigation project it undertakes. It typically performs computer modeling of planned changes to river and estuary systems to fully assess, and limit, the environmental effects of navigation projects before any work begins.

Other ways that USACE works to protect the environment when navigation projects are undertaken include:

  • using dredge material as a resource for habitat and wetland creation;
  • reducing disruption and damage to marine species by careful timing of dredging activities; and
  • limiting environmental harm caused by dredging by using high tech instruments to monitor dredge locations and activity.
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Another, less visible environmental benefit of USACE navigation projects, is that they help limit air pollution emissions by enabling tows with many barges to move cargo long distances on considerably less fuel than trains or trucks would need to move the same amount of cargo the same distance.