News and information for the worldwide dredging industry

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Visiting New York

I visited New York City on a blustery four days in mid-September, to tour the port facilities as a guest of the Corps of Engineers on September 10, and as a guest of Boskalis Dolman on September 13, to participate in the Dutch celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River estuary in 1609.

Hosted by the New York District, Corps of Engineers on the Corps vessel Hocking, on September 10 I viewed all the New York and New Jersey port facilities and received a commentary from each project manager regarding the dredging, land creation, brownfields restoration, dredged material management and habitat restoration of the area. Well aware of the environmental legacy of the area, Bill Slezak described the goal of making the estuary a world class harbor estuary, restoring wetlands and other habitat and using dredged material as a resource, so shipping, commerce, daily life and recreation can exist harmoniously.

On September 13, the bay was filled with Dutch sailing vessels that had been transported to New York for the occasion. I was in a skûtsje -- a shallow-draft Frisian vessel -- in the company of a dozen guests from the dredging world, and hosts Johan and Jenni Dolman, and Bastiaan and Claudia Lammers. The captain/owner of the ship – Sihhe Heerschop – had a knack for catching the wind just right, and gave us a number of wild experiences, appropriate for the name of the vessel, Wylde Wytse. The New York City inhabitants cheered from the seawall as the boats tacked up the Hudson River.

I got to have a real job, raising and lowering the starboard keel as necessary, but was nice and let John Lally do it on the second leg of the trip. The picture shows me acting in this capacity. It sure was a fun day, and finished up with an informal dinner on the 24th floor of a hotel on the waterfront with our hoses Johan and Jenni Dolman, where we watched the sun go down behind the Statue of Liberty and Jersey City light up across the Hudson.

This was my first trip in my capacity as employee of the Waterways Journal, who acquired this magazine on August 12. Many people have wondered if it was hard to give up the reins after 28 years of running the business, but it was actually more a lifting of a responsibility that was getting a bit much. Now the capable folks in the WWJ offices in St. Louis are taking care of the nuts and bolts, and I am allowed to do what I want to do – write about dredging.

I look forward to catching up on writing stories about visits I’ve made and events I’ve attended – stories that have been put off because I haven’t had the mental time to devote to them. My new bosses, Nelson Spencer III and Nelson (Spence) Spencer Jr., are encouraging me to stop worrying about the business of the business and just write. They even offer their group of staff writers to help. I gave out my first writing assignment to David Murray for this issue, and his article on the killer alga Calerpa taxifolia is in this issue. He’s already at work on an article for the November/December issue. It will join the articles about the New York trip in that issue.

Fortunately for the U.S. navigable waterways, a significant amount of funding has been allocated for navigation projects. Our Contract Awards section is usually a page at most. For this issue, it is more than three pages, and I had to limit the listing to contracts awarded in July and August. The list for September is already long, so look for that in the next issue.

Around the world, huge projects are in the works, and with my new freedom to concentrate on research and writing, I should have good coverage of the world situation in the future. Thanks to David Padman, we have an interesting report in this issue on the Port Klang, Malaysia channel deepening, with a stunning picture of the long, long, HAM 318.

Judith Powers, Editor
(No longer chief cook and bottle washer)

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