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CRA Hosts Corpus Christi Dredging Seminar

For more than a decade, Chris Ransome and Associates (CRA), a hydrographic survey firm, and dredging contractor Orion Marine Group have been conducting conferences to raise awareness of maintenance dredging, specifically for commercial docks, in various port systems such as Houston and Beaumont. On November 8, Corpus Christi hosted the first series of the seminar at the downtown Omni Hotel.

More than 100 participants gathered for this year’s seminar, supported by the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association, HDR Engineering, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers- Galveston District, the Port of Corpus Christi, and Coast and Harbor Engineering. The theme of this event was focused on regional issues, special projects, and dredging activity along the waterfront.

With more than 35 nautical miles of channel and a 45-foot depth, the Corpus Christi channel is a major trade center on the Texas Gulf Coast. The growth of the port is a factor leading the development along with terminals such as Cheniere, Oxy Ingleside, and Nustar Energy. “Expanding the market of the dredging show to Corpus Christi has been a significant milestone. We are overwhelmed of the response that we have received from industry partners, clients and associations involved with dredging. There are a lot of big things happening around the Matagorda, Brazos and southern counties and those entities face some of the same siltation and waterway issues as others. Everyone in that room was a key part of the U.S. inland marine transportation system. We definitely could not put this event on without the collaboration, outreach, and participation of the port and governmental authorities,” Marketing Coordinator Laci Theriot said.

Mark Coyle of Orion Marine Group did a presentation on the LaQuinta Channel Expansion, which required three dredges, two disposal sites, and a beneficial use site. Restoration and upland disposal created ongoing challenges.

“Some of these major federal projects are extremely complex- and all parties involved had to think outside the box to make this project happen. It just shows how the constituents of this region are adapting to expansion and how channel construction effects private industry. Maintenance dredging in navigation channels and at facilities doesn’t just happen overnight. There is a lot of planning required. The unique thing about “Dredging Your Docks” is that the seminar covers such a variety and range of dredging topics from permitting, project costing, engineering design and placement areas. The facility representatives and engineers leave here with a better understanding of the entire process,” Coyle said.

One of the highlights of the program was from Chris Ransome, president of CRA, addressing the audience on the Corps of Engineers’ recent tidal datum change of Mean Low Tide (MLT) to Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW). “It’s a very new adjustment for industry. It’s important to recognize how much water you have at your dock, which affects the volume calculations needed to determine how deep to dredge to get back to your designed depth. There are many variations in water surface elevations and many defined datums out there, which makes things even more confusing, Ransome said. The Corps of Engineers Galveston District has been the force behind the conversion, which has been several years in the making and is a universal concept within all districts of the agency,” Ransome said.

The Corpus Christi seminar presentations are available to the public on crahouston.com. The next “Dredging Your Docks” seminar is scheduled to be on Wednesday, December 2 at the MCM Elegante Hotel in Beaumont, Texas. For more information about the “Dredging Your Docks” conferences, please contact Laci Theriot at ltheriot@crahouston.com.

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