What is dredging?

Dredging is the careful removal of sediment and debris from the bottom of a body of water, such as a river, lake, or harbour. It is one of the ways the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority supports Canada’s trade objectives by keeping our waterways safe for commercial and recreational vessels. 

Requirements for dredging differ based on the nature of the waterway. Sometimes dredging is done only once to create a harbor or terminal berth in an open body of water. Other times it is needed regularly, such as in a river where silt is deposited every spring. 

As such, we operate our on-going Maintenance Dredging Program, a $12 million annual initiative that focuses on dredging the south arm of the Fraser River. Because of the high volume of sediment that deposits annually in the river, the port authority must carefully remove and dispose of sediment that could clog the waterway, create navigation hazards, and impact marine-related trade. 

We also manage the environmental impacts of dredging through our Dredge Material Management Program. The program focuses on repurposing dredged materials for industrial use, environmental mitigation, along with land creation and exchange. In this way, dredged materials is being used as a resource rather than a waste. 

Through these programs and initiatives, our dredging activities help us to fulfill our mandate to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver, while ensuring safety, environmental protection, and consideration for local communities.