In Brightlingsea there was a problem with the clay pits who were excavated in the 1960’s to strengthen the local coastal flood defences in response to the severe flooding in the fifties.
Long-term and ongoing erosion caused a radical habitat degradation in the area. At the same time, Brightlingsea faces the natural deposition of sediment in their harbour.
Due to the accumulation of sediment, significant concerns to the safe and efficient operation of the harbour arose. Under the EU Interreg 2 Seas initiative ‘Using Sediment As a Resource’ (USAR) Exo Environmental had made a proposal to the Brightlingsea Harbour regarding the combination of filling the clay pits and the coming dredging operations for 2016 – 2020: The clean sediments arising from the dredging works could be beneficially reused to restore and maintain intertidal mudflat and salt march habitats in order to address the habitat degradation.
Smals Dredging and Miles Water Engineer Ltd were requested to dredge silts from alongside and underneath the floating pontoons located within the South Channel in Autumn 2017 with tidal conditions. The arising material was used to fill the St. Osyth borrow pits restoration site, a series of together 23 former clay borrow pits.
Utilising the Cutter Suction Dredger (CSD) Phoenix with its articulated swing ladder and rtk GPS Dredge Monitoring System, the arising dredged material was removed accurately with high concentration and precise ‘pit fillingt’.
At the end the restoration of the biologically diverse saltmarsh habitat of Brightlingsea was successfully executed. A nice example of reusing silt for ecological purposes.