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Engler to Head New ASCE Dredging Group

Robert Engler will lead the new Dredging Operations Subcommittee of the ASCE Coastal, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI).

Robert Engler will lead the new Dredging Operations Subcommittee of the ASCE Coastal, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI).

Cahrles Calhoun, president of COPRI, announced the selection of Dr. Robert Engler to head the new dredging group.

Cahrles Calhoun, president of COPRI, announced the selection of Dr. Robert Engler to head the new dredging group.

Engler to Head New ASCE Dredging Group
Dr. Robert M. Engler will chair the new Dredging Operations subcommittee of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Coastal, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI). The body was formed by the COPRI Board of Governors at their meeting in Houston in May. The dredging group will be a subcommittee to the COPRI Waterways (WW) Committee.

The group will study and disseminate information on all aspects of dredging operations and potential impacts, establish and maintain contact with other organizations interested in the dredging process, and seek opportunities for joint efforts.

"The WW has pretty well been the ASCE home for dredging, and has sponsored all of the highly successful ASCE dredging conferences. The new subcommittee will be responsible for continuing that series," said Charles Calhoun, COPRI president. "Although dredging is a big part of COPRI and ASCE, the word "dredging" did not appear in the organizational structure of either group. With the formation of this new entity, that oversight has been taken care of. This new group will also make the dredging profession more visible, understood and appreciated by the broad community of engineers, scientists, contractors, planners, operators, owners and others represented by ASCE and COPRI. As appropriate, ASCE and/or COPRI can lend its voice to important policy issues related to dredging." said Calhoun.

"We are exceptionally pleased that Bob Engler has agreed to chair the new committee," Calhoun continued. "As you will probably agree, Bob has become the 'Mr. Dredging' of the world. He knows and/or is known and respected by practically everyone in the profession. I think this is important, in that we in COPRI want to work more closely with and not compete with organizations such as the International Navigation Association (PIANC) and the Western Dredging Association (WEDA). For some time now PIANC and COPRI have had an MOU (memorandum of understanding) in place that has resulted in successful joint efforts including the Ports conferences. There is so very much that needs to be done in the dredging area, and our organizations must work together for the overall benefit of the profession. Bob agrees with this vision and is ideally suited to take on this task since he is in top leadership positions in both PIANC and WEDA," said Calhoun.
Dr. Engler is the Army's Senior Scientist (Environmental) at the U.S. Army Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

"There are a number of groups dealing with dredging from a professional point of view, and we thought is was time to get the ASCE more involved on a professional basis with professional issues," said Dr. Engler, who is a commissioner of WEDA, chairman of the PIANC Environmental Committee, a member of the PIANC executive committee, and the U.S. State Department delegate to the London Convention (the treaty on ocean dumping). He has direct links to the Central Dredging Association (CEDA) through PIANC.

While the dredging organizations are good advocates within the industry, the discipline needs the clout of a larger organization such as ASCE to enhance awareness of the industry, especially in government, Dr. Engler believes. He will work to establish more formal associations with other dredging groups in order to present a solid front among ASCE, WEDA, CEDA and PIANC.

ASCE is a huge organization, with more than 130,000 members throughout the world, with hundreds of committees, subcommittees and advisory groups on technical, professional and policy issues.

"Navigation is our economy, based on being a major trading nation," said Dr. Engler. "Our defense is based on being able to muster the means necessary to help those in need. Navigation is a key element in moving large amounts of material," he said.

"Without dredging, our navigation would be operated from flat bottom boats," he said. "Our coasts are shallow. Dredging is a well-known construction technique. We're under huge pressures from environmental groups and ports to do things in environmentally sensitive and economic ways, but environmental considerations have added great costs," he said.

"Dredging is also being used in major Superfund sediment cleanup activities. ASCE is involved in engineering, economy and environment. We have to be responsive to shippers, environmental stakeholders, and those that control the money," he said.

Because the group is in its infancy, the specific activities have not been decided.

"We have to feel things out a bit as to how much the committee can do," said Dr. Engler.

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