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Christchurch Colleagues are OK; Rosemary Lynch Ends Successful AIWA Leadership

Someone sent me a photo of Christchurch at the moment the earthquake hit on February 22, and it looked like the city was collapsing.

In the following days, I emailed to Gary Chisholm in the Trimble office in Christchurch to find out how they had fared. He responded: “It’s a mess. I am fine but life is very didderby now. We all know people who died or missing.”
Didderby: a party or gathering of the insane nature.

And in a further email, he said: “City is a real mess – and large areas of suburbs. Luckily not where I live or work.”
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This has not been a slow news month, either in the world or in our industry. At the top of the list of concerns is trepidation about waterways funding. Our rivers and ports are essential to commerce in the United States, but there is always a struggle to get funding to maintain them, and it seems there are even fewer people in Congress now who understand the importance of water commerce to our economy.

So it was good news on February 18 when Barry Holliday announced that the Senate had introduced its version of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund bill – another attempt to spend money on harbor maintenance, money that is collected for that purpose through a dedicated tax, and then not used for maintenance. I’ve written these words so many times that I’m started to think “broken record”, if that analogy is still understood in this technological age. Remember when a scratch in a record would cause the needle to play the same thing over and over? That’s how this conversation is beginning to feel. The tax has been collected since 1986, but despite the fact that the tax provides adequate money, the ports are still not reliably maintained to adequate depth. The money is being spent elsewhere.

Maybe this will be the HMTF year and the irritating broken record will be able to play the rest of the song.

Rosemary Lynch has led the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association for 11 years as executive director, and since that first hopeful meeting in 1999, the group, the annual meeting and the effectiveness of its mission have grown immensely. The waterway has been faced with dangerous shoaling, loss of navigation aids, and other problems that were not being addressed by the federal and local governments, so the entire length could not be safely traversed. Now the communities, states, Corps of Engineers and especially the senators and representatives of these states are working together for the waterway as a whole.

With this new attention focused on the AIW, problems can be addressed more quickly and effectively.

In February, the AIWA board of directors informed Rosemary that they will be headquartering their efforts in Washington D.C., terminating her employment as executive director. Ryck Lydecker sent an email to the members announcing the change, and that he would serve as acting chairman until a new director was selected.

Rosemary did a good job of bringing all the diverse players together through her selection of speakers at the annual meetings, imaginative expansion of the contact list, and especially her intimate knowledge and understanding of the waterway. Her efforts have helped my own reporting by introducing me to a rich mix of individuals and issues surrounding the AIW, and I hope she will be able to stay close to the waterway in her next endeavor.

Judith Powers
Editor

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