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Environmental Awards to Include Climate Change Mitigation Category

Craig Vogt at the United Nations International Maritime Association (IMO) London Convention meeting in 2012, where he represented the World Organization of Dredging Associations (WODA). It was held at the IMO 

London headquarters.

Craig Vogt at the United Nations International Maritime Association (IMO) London Convention meeting in 2012, where he represented the World Organization of Dredging Associations (WODA). It was held at the IMO London headquarters.

BY JUDITH POWERS 

Craig Vogt announced that the Western Dredging Association (WEDA) Environmental Commission will present an award for mitigation or adaptation to climate change at the annual meeting in Vancouver in June. The addition of this category is in accordance with the agree­ment made by the World Organization of Dredg­ing Associations (WODA) to begin to collect data on climate change mitigation in dredging projects around the world. 

The other two categories for the environmen­tal awards are dredging for navigation and envi­ronmental dredging. 
Vogt, who chairs the commission, reported in April that he had received nominations for proj­ects in all three categories. 

The addition of the new category comes at a time when nations around the world are joining forces to combat climate change by reducing car­bon emissions and mitigating the effects of car­bon in the atmosphere by creating “carbon sinks” in which plant photosynthesis absorbs more car­bon than it releases. This can occur in boreal for­ests, forested wetlands, old freshwater wetlands, and at sea by kelp forests, to name just a few. 

WODA’s statement on mitigating and adapt­ing to climate change, finalized at the 2016 World Dredging Conference in Miami, states that “An integrated, holistic approach to carbon management in relation to dredging projects is needed; optimization of dredging processes, in­novations in the design of dredging vessels, the use of alternative fuels, as well as the use of sedi­ment to support carbon sequestration offer op­portunities that should be further developed.” It continues by saying that adaptation measures need to be based on a well-informed approach that makes use of surveying, monitoring and adaptive management. It also states that flexible, evidence-based and science-informed regulatory frameworks are essential for the implementation of solutions. 

Vogt provided the impetus for the formation of the Environmental Commission in 1994. He had joined WEDA in 1991 at the request of Bill Murden, then chairman of the WEDA board of directors, and Larry Patella, WEDA executive director, after they heard him speak in his capac­ity of director of the Oceans and Coastal Protec­tion Division of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at a WEDA meeting. Murden recognized the need to get EPA more involved in WEDA, and suggested Vogt’s appointment to the board of directors. 

In 2008, Vogt retired from the EPA, and start­ed a private consultancy on ocean and coastal environmental issues, such as environmental im­pact assessments; impacts of erosion on shoreline management; peer reviews of Corp of Engineers (COE) navigation projects, disposal of mine tail­ings into ocean waters, and regulatory guidance documents for hazardous waste dredging and disposal. 

He has run the Environmental Commis­sion virtually alone until this year, when he an­nounced a new structure that includes three new positions. These are vice chair, to be filled by Steve Garbaciak; communications coordinator, to be filled by Marsha Cohen; and reporting sec­retary, to be filed by Alan Alcorn. Commission meetings, held in conjunction with the annual WEDA general meeting, are regularly attended by several dozen interested members. 

The three are long-standing members of the Commission. Garbaciak, an environmental scientist, worked for the EPA before coming to WEDA; Cohen is formerly the editor of Terra et Aqua magazine and now a freelance writer in the dredging industry, and Alcorn, is an environ­mental scientist in dredging projects, is vice pres­ident of WEDA, and has been keeping records of the Environmental Commission meetings for several years. 

Vogt announced that in 2017 the commission would focus on getting state and federal regula­tors to the chapter meetings, noting that govern­ment travel restrictions might keep them from going to Canada for this year’s Summit. 
Vogt has been working with colleagues from Environment Canada to set up an environmen­tal panel at the Vancouver event. 

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