Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences

First Advisor

Robert J. Weaver

Second Advisor

George A. Maul

Third Advisor

Yahya Sharaf-Eldeen

Fourth Advisor

Marco Carvalho


This study is an investigation of hydraulic dredging specifically designed to remove muck and other fine sediments from local water systems in Brevard County, Florida. The goal of the project is to improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) and create positive environmental impacts. Dredging is an excavation activity that takes place underwater in shallow seas or freshwater environments to remove material from the bottom surface. Typically, dredging techniques are implemented to keep waterways such as canals, inlets, and harbors navigable for boats and barges. Dredging is also commonly used to move sand from offshore sources to beaches where sand has been depleted due to erosion. Environmental dredging refers to the removal of contaminated sediments from selected locations. It involves precision dredging techniques designed to reduce the resuspension of fine sediment particles. Many of the environmental dredging techniques currently available are focused on procedural/managerial methods for controlling resuspension of sediments and reducing the number of residuals, undisturbed and generated, found at post-dredging locations. Whereas, less efforts have been made in the mechanical design of the suction dredge head itself. The suction dredge head discussed in this thesis is designed for fine sediment and muck removal. It consists of a variable intake area that can be adjusted to increase or decrease the intake velocity. By doing so, the dredge head removes the finer sediment pollutants while leaving behind coarser material such as sand, shells, and pebbles. It is anticipated that removing muck will create a significant reduction of toxic algal blooms in the Lagoon’s waters and aid in restoring the natural ecosystem.