An Investigation of Potential Consequences of Marine Mining in Shallow Water: An Example from the Mid-Atlantic Coast of the United States


  • C. H. Hobbs, III


Sand-mining, environmental assessment, Maryland, Delaware


Proper stewardship of the coastal marine area necessitates consideration of the potential environmental consequences of marine mining. Such a study would include investigation of the benthic infauna, commercial and recreational fisheries, sea turtles and marine mammals that utilize the area to be mined, anticipated changes in wave transformation, storm surge, and bottom currents, and the history and dynamics of shoreline change. A case study on the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast offshore of Maryland and Delaware indicates that the consequences of a sand-mining project, on the order of 2 X 106 m3 would be relatively minor whereas the results of a larger project or cumulative removal of 2.4 X 107 m3 likely would substantially greater but should not be prohibitive.