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About the DMMP

This page has basic information about who we are, what we do, our roles and responsibilities, and our mission.

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Contact the DMMO

Seattle District (CENWS)
Dredged Material Management Office
PO Box 3755
Seattle, WA 98124-3755

CENWS-DMMOTeam@usace.army.mil

206-764-6083
206-764-6945
206-764-6550
206-764-6713

Our Mission

The mission of the Dredged Material Management Program is to provide scientifically defensible, publicly acceptable, economically feasible, and transparent management of dredged material and dredged material disposal at unconfined, open-water disposal sites in Washington State. 

Who We Are and What We Do

The Dredged Material Management Program (DMMP) is an interagency approach to the management of dredged material in Washington State. The Seattle District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) acts as the lead agency.  Cooperating agencies are Region 10 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), and the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Together the DMMP agencies are responsible for evaluating dredged material using the guidelines set out in the User Manual and for co-management of the DMMP disposal sites.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District

As the lead agency for the DMMP, the USACE Seattle District Dredged Material Management Office (DMMO) provides a "one-stop" location for project proponents.  The DMMO is a team within the USACE Operations Division that provides technical support to both the USACE Navigation Section and the USACE Regulatory Branch.

 

The USACE Navigation Section manages federal navigation dredging projects by maintaining channels and other structural features for safe navigation in the Puget Sound region and on the Washington coast.  Non-federal navigation projects interact with the USACE Regulatory Branch for their permitting process. The Seattle District Regulatory Program evaluates applications for permits for proposed activities—including dredging --in "Waters of the United States."

The DMMO coordinates with the USACE Regulatory Branch on dredging projects and provides assistance on sediment quality and dredged material management issues. Dredging project proponents planning to submit a Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA) to the USACE Regulatory Branch are encouraged to contact the DMMO beforehand for guidance on the sediment evaluation process.  It is recommended that sediment characterization be performed prior to submitting the JARPA so that the public notice can include information about the suitability of sediment to be dredged for open-water disposal and the quality of the sediment surface to be exposed by dredging.  This can facilitate a more efficient subsequent Regulatory permit experience.  The DMMO coordinates project reviews with the other DMMP agencies and drafts suitability determinations and other documents for DMMP approval.  DMMO is responsible for all coordination with the other DMMP agencies during the sediment evaluation process.

In addition to being the lead agency for the DMMP, the DMMO is also responsible for ESA compliance with respect to use of the multiuser disposal sites, including annual reporting to and periodic consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10

The primary role of the EPA representative is to evaluate dredged material using the guidelines set out in the User Manual and to manage the DMMP disposal sites.  When a proposed DMMP dredging project is located within a CERCLA site, the EPA representative may also coordinate with the  EPA remedial project manager for that site.  An  example is the Lower Duwamish Waterway CERCLA site, which is an active navigable industrial waterway.  The EPA representative will coordinate DMMP projects with the remedial project manager to ensure that any proposed dredging project and dredged material evaluation are compatible with remedial investigations and remedies.  The EPA representative may also be responsible for overall project review via the NEPA program and the CWA 404 permit review process.  In some limited circumstances, the EPA representative may also be responsible for the federal Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification for a project.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

The DNR representative handles the State's Site Use Authorization program, manages use of disposal sites and collects revenues that are applied to management of the disposal sites.  In addition to sediment evaluations and management of the disposal sites, the DNR representative may advise DNR aquatic land managers, lease managers and port managers regarding issues related to sediment quality. The DNR representative is also responsible for acquiring and maintaining a shoreline permit for each of the multiuser disposal sites.

Washington State Department of Ecology

In addition to sediment evaluations and management of the disposal sites, the Ecology representative may also write the State’s Section 401 water quality certification for the project or advise the writer of the certification.  The Ecology representative may also work with the remedial project manager of an adjacent MTCA cleanup site to ensure that the proposed dredging project and dredged material evaluation are compatible with remedial investigations and remedies at the cleanup site. The Ecology representative is responsible for ensuring that State regulations are complied with, including the WA State Sediment Management Standards and WA State Water Quality Standards.

History and Structure

The interagency approach to dredged material management began in 1985 after studies surfaced concerns about environmentally degraded sediment and water quality in Puget Sound.  Plunging public confidence in agency management of dredged material led to the loss of shoreline permits for the Elliott Bay disposal site and a halt to much local dredging.  This crisis led to the Puget Sound Dredged Disposal Analysis (PSDDA) study, a 4.5 year initiative meant to restore confidence in agency regulation of unconfined open-water dredged material disposal.  PSDDA was implemented in two phases, the first in June 1988 for central Puget Sound and the second in September 1989 for north and south Puget Sound. The environmental impact statements (EIS's) associated with the PSDDA studies are available on the Reports, ESA and History page.

The PSDDA program provided publicly acceptable and environmentally safe regulation of unconfined open-water dredged material disposal, but only for Puget Sound.  In 1995 a long-term interagency management strategy was developed and implemented for the coastal estuaries of Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay.  The Environmental Assessment associated with the Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay study is available on the Reports, ESA and History page. In 1998, a long-term interagency dredged material management strategy was also developed and implemented for the lower Columbia River.  With the expansion of PSDDA oversight into Washington water bodies beyond Puget Sound, the program name changed from PSDDA to DMMP.

How We Work

The DMMP is composed of regulatory agency representatives who are familiar with sediment evaluation procedures, Clean Water Act regulations and permitting procedures, and dredging equipment and procedures. The DMMP agencies operate by consensus in all aspects of the program.

The DMMP agencies meet monthly to discuss programmatic and project-specific issues.  Our meetings are open, and are usually held the first Thursday of each month.  If you are interested in talking with us about a specific project or programmatic issue, please Contact the DMMO to set up a time to attend one of our meetings.