Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Since the closures, in 1971, of the Prudence Island and Brenton Reef disposal sites, water-related industries have not had aquatic disposal of dredged sediments as a management option. The marina industry in Rhode Island has been especially impacted as natural sedimentation processes have reduced the water depths at many of these locations and have resulted in the loss of business as operators have been unable to operate their marinas to their fullest potential. The elimination of this option is based on political and environmental concerns over declines in local commercial fisheries which are alleged to be the result of the aquatic disposal of dredged sediments from the Providence River Channel deepening project. Politically, the dredging and disposal issue is very complex as authority to permit dredging resides in several state and federal agencies. Regulations result in long processing times and increased costs for applications, and claims of economic hardship are being by the marina industry. Finally, while acknowledging the need to define a long-term solution for dredging and disposal problems, there is steadfast opposition to these activities from commercial fishing and environmental interests.