Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, and also known as land fill (not to be confused with a landfill), is the process of creating new land from ocean, riverbeds, or lake beds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or land fill.

Land reclamation refers to the process of repairing or restoring disturbed land to a useful state. Land reclamation is an important part of the construction, mining, forestry, and agricultural industries. When land is disturbed, it is sometimes necessary for it to undergo reclamation, not only to help the environment flourish, but so it can be of use once again to these industries.


History of Land Reclamation

Reclamation has been practiced for centuries. Farmers reclaimed land by irrigating regions neglected by rainfall or by draining marshes and wetlands. By the 20th century, several irrigation projects were carried out in the U.S., Pakistan, and the Soviet Union, when it became evident how much damage to the environment could occur if reclamation projects were not initiated.


One of the first American attempts to regulate reclamation came at the foot of the Carey Land Act in 1894. The Act set focus on conserving natural resources and acknowledged that farming, grazing, and deforestation, teamed with little rainfall, was having a hazardous impact on the land.


In 1902, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation passed an act to supply water to farmers for disturbed lands throughout 17 western states. The process of irrigation increased the sustainability of the land, but unfortunately may have resulted in the land incurring selenium and salinity poisoning.


The Reclamation Act of 1902 put the onus on the federal government to make better use of reclamation projects. Within the next two or three decades, land reclamation became a dire need, as the drought of the 1920s and 1930s led to the existence of more land in need of restoration. The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Engineers Corps began working together in land reclamation by building dams. The Flood Control Act of 1944 also worked to give the federal government more control over this issue.


Land is used for many reasons

  1. For the extraction of natural resources, such as in mining.
  2. For the extraction of fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  3. For raising livestock.
  4. To build structures and buildings.
  5. To raise animals and grow food.
  6. To harvest trees and plant new ones.


Methods of Reclamation

Land reclamation can be achieved with a number of different methods.

  1. The simplest method involves simply filling the area with large amounts of heavy rock and/or cement.


  1. Filling with clay and dirt until the desired height is reached. The process is called “infilling “and the material used to fill the space is generically called “infill”.


  1. Draining of submerged wetlands is often used to reclaim land for agricultural use. Deep cement mixing is used typically in situation in which the material displaced by either dredging or draining may be contaminated and hence needs to be contained.

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