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WODA Hosts Acoustics Workshop

Workshop speakers (l-r): Stephen Robinson (NPL, UK), Christ de Jong (TNO, Netherlands), Frank Thomsen (DHI, Denmark), Douglas Clarke (HDR, USA), Edward Kleverlaan (IMO, UK), René Dekeling (Ministry of Infrastructure
and the Environment, the Netherlands).

Workshop speakers (l-r): Stephen Robinson (NPL, UK), Christ de Jong (TNO, Netherlands), Frank Thomsen (DHI, Denmark), Douglas Clarke (HDR, USA), Edward Kleverlaan (IMO, UK), René Dekeling (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Netherlands).

Photo courtesy of CEDA

The World Organization of Dredging Association (WODA) workshop on March 26 in Paris, presented the latest knowledge on the acoustic impacts of dredging on aquatic species. Entitled “Underwater Sound in Relation to Dredging,” the workshop was based on the work of the two working groups that drafted the Central Dredging Association (CEDA) position paper of the same title in November 2011 and the associated WODA Technical Guidance in June 2013.

The effects of underwater sound are an important environmental issue and this is clearly reflected by policy developments in Europe and the rest of the world. Increasingly, developers and operators working in water environments are required to consider and manage underwater sound.

Jan Vandenbroeck from SDI in France, member of the CEDA board of directors, and Paul Scherrer, from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE) in France opened the WODA workshop, followed by Dr. Frank Thomsen, from DHI in Denmark, chairman of the two working groups, who set the scene for the rest of the day with a summary of the current knowledge illustrated with sound recordings.

During the well-attended one-day workshop, participants heard the latest on dredging and underwater sound, from leading international experts in the field, and had a rare opportunity to discuss the ideas presented. The event was attended by more than 50 delegates from six different countries, representing scientists, regulators, policy-makers and practitioners from the dredging industry and associated fields.

“It was a great pleasure and honor for France that Paris has been chosen by CEDA/WODA for this workshop with attendees and speakers from all over northern Europe and even one speaker from USA. The presentations and discussions gave a really good and complete view on the topic of underwater sound, sound propagation and possibilities of mitigation. We also know much better now how sound affect aquatic life, with some fish species mostly sensitive to particle motion and other to sound pressure, the mammals being especially sensitive to higher frequencies and therefore not so much affected by dredging sound, which are mostly lower frequencies,” Paul Scherrer, MEDDE, said.

Head of the Office for LC/LP & Ocean Affairs, International Maritime Organisation (IMO), in the United Kingdom, Edward Kleverlaan said international regulatory organizations should participate in events like this one. “International regulatory organizations, such as IMO or OSPAR, which the dredging professional community must interact with (for instance through WODA), can and should play a leading role in setting research targets, interpreting information from science and field experiences, and providing the substantiation for improved future guidance,” he said.

Video recordings and copies of the workshop presentations will be available from the CEDA website (www.dredging.org). A detailed report is already posted at (http://tinyurl.com/UWSReport). The CEDA Position Paper and the WODA Technical Guidance on Underwater Sound in Relation to Dredging can also be downloaded from the CEDA site.

The workshop was organized by CEDA, on behalf of WODA, and supported by Cerema (Center for expertise and engineering on risks, urban and country planning, environment and mobility), French Maritime Cluster (CMF), and the French federation of companies working in the maritime field (Tramaf).

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