In the past, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) focused on managing sand at coastal projects on a project-by-project basis. However, this approach to sand management may not adequately consider the impact of individual projects on down-drift projects. To address this issue, the USACE has initiated efforts to assess the benefits of managing sediment resources as a regional-scale resource rather than a localized project resource. The concept of Regional Sediment Management (RSM) is a result of the 67th meeting of the Coastal Engineering Research Board (CERB), held in May 1998.
In October 1999 the Mobile District initiated the USACE Northern Gulf of Mexico Regional Sediment Management Demonstration Program. The goal of this program is to change the paradigm of project specific management by focusing on a regional approach in which the USACE, as well as state and local agencies, stop managing projects and begin "managing the sand."
The demonstration program has the following objectives:
- Implement regional sediment management practices
- Improve economic performance by linking projects
- Develop new engineering techniques to optimize/conserve sediment
- Determine bureaucratic obstacles to regional sediment management
- Manage projects in concert with the environment