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Editorial : July-August-2013

I am very happy to be writing my first editorial as the new editor of IDR. I do still have the guidance of Judith Powers (and HUGE shoes to fill, I might add), but I’ve had the pleasure of working with her over the last year, to get my feet wet. She also remains a valuable resource and colleague to me, as our trusted advisor and writer.

While I do have a lot to learn about dredging, I hope to depend on all of you to show me the way. What I can assure you, or what I will do my best to do each and every issue, is bring quality business journalism. I’ve been a journalist and writer for more than 10 years, and it was clear from the beginning that I was stepping into a quality publication. If there is anything profound in what we (trade journalists) do, it is that we educate and inform the industry, objectively, thoroughly and bravely. (I hope I can be as brave as Judith has been in her tenure.)

In my short time around the dredging industry, I have met many who value what Judith does as a journalist. I mention this because on two separate occasions, I had industry people tell me about how much they appreciate what Judith does, and how important it is that she spends the time to write and research every article. I certainly know how much work goes into that level of journalism, but to hear that from readers and advertisers was unexpected and delightful. I look forward to carrying on that tradition.

This issue, I spent quite a bit of time researching Sandy restoration projects and have an outline of near-term coastal restoration projects, focused on the current contract awards, as of the beginning of July. I will continue that coverage in the next few months, as more projects come to fruition. Thank you to Justin Ward in the public affairs offi ce at the North Atlantic Division who helped me compile all this information.

We continue our coverage of water levels in the Great Lakes, which continue to hobble shipping. Ships are required to light load to get into ports, which reduces the tonnage shipped, stifl es commerce and causes bad fuel economy per tons shipped. Emergency projects such as the one in this issue about the Saginaw River, where depth was reduced by eight feet in a turning basin, and a ship went aground, seem to be the only way funds are allocated to the Lakes, which are a vital link in the marine transportation system of the United States and Canada.

Also, an interesting concept they’re talking about in Central America is a possible new Atlantic to Pacific canal in Nicaragua. Our Latin American correspondent Katie Worth examines that idea and gives us some thinking points on its viability.

One new feature I would like to bring to IDR is developing industry statistics. And to do that, I need your help. Valuable industry statistics come from you, in the form of surveys on various topics, from overall business activities to contract awards to safety issues. Our first survey is geared toward suppliers to gauge the health of their business, and in turn, the overall industry. You can fi nd the online survey on our new website ( Look for the Survey link at the top. Dredging contractors and project owners, look for other surveys about your business in the future. I would love to hear your ideas too, about valuable topics for industry stats.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” I am so excited to get involved with the dredging industry and learn all that I can. Most of that I hope to learn from you, my readers. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at any time, and tell me about your business. Chances are I will learn something new and valuable. I look forward to covering the dredging industry and making some new friends along the way.

Anna Townshend
Editor, IDR

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