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Lake Dredging

Dredging a lake takes time and proper planning. Prior to initiating a project, it is important to examine all dredging options available, costs, and goals to be achieved through dredging. After all, you will want to make sure that there is funding available to successfully plan and execute the project as well as cover any potential additional costs.

Why is Lake Dredging Necessary?

Most lakes are fed by runoff from streams or rivers that may contain materials contaminated with harmful pollutants and numerous types of minerals. These materials can be dangerous for the overall health of a lake and can impact recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating. Over time, materials such as nutrient concentrated silt can overwhelm a lake, allowing substantial vegetation and algae blooms to grow.

Dredging can assist with preventing vegetation growth or algae blooms — in some cases by dredging may contribute to reversing the process, helping improve overall water quality. Dredging will add depth to a lake by creating space for fish and eliminating cramped oxygen-deprived conditions. Having deeper areas of water is particularly beneficial to fish that inhabit lakes that freeze over during the winter. Materials, such as sand, that have been dredged from a lake can also be reused to replenish beaches or for nearby restoration projects.

Lake Dredging Programs

Do you belong to a homeowner’s association (HOAs) or a municipality that has considered investing in a lake dredging maintenance program? Lake dredging programs preserve the overall health, safety, water quality, and navigability of a lake. Some decision-makers view the upfront cost of such programs as being far too expensive to fund instead of seeing dredging as a beneficial long-term solution.

HOA’s that once depended on their local government for financial support to fund lake dredging projects have established their own non-profit organizations and special tax districts to self-fund future dredging projects. Municipalities who support lake dredging programs can also benefit from future tax revenue as a result of improved lake conditions that accommodate leisure activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating. A properly maintained lake will attract visitors who are willing to spend more time on and near the lake providing a boost to the local economy.

Additional Dredging Costs

A lake dredging project can be expensive. It is vitally important to be prepared for the associated costs including*:

· Feasibility studies
· Engineering designs and permits
· Operating cost of an in-house dredging programs vs. cost of work performed by a contractor
· Transporting and repairing equipment
· Transporting and disposing of dredged materials
· Water management

*This list of anticipated expenses is by no means a complete list of all costs associated with a dredging project.


The guidelines for obtaining a lake dredging permit vary depending upon where the project is located. For additional information, we recommend contacting your local city, county, or state government for further details.

Selecting the Right Type of Equipment

Regardless of whether you have decided to do the work yourself or hire a contractor, Ellicott has a complete line of cutter suction dredges and swinging ladder dredges for your lake dredging project. If you need additional information about selecting the proper dredge, contact our team at or call 1-888-870-3005.