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Pacific Chapter Meets in Seward, Alaska

Pacific Chapter Meets in Seward, Alaska

The Western Dredging Association (WEDA) Pacific Chapter meeting featured an amazing venue near Seward, Alaska, a wildlife-rich cruise on Resurrection Bay, and a keynote address by Mead Treadwell, lieutenant governor of Alaska and a member of the board of directors of Ellicott Dredges.
Seventy-seven people attended, despite the multi-faceted travel arrangements required to get to Seward – a three- to six-hour flight to Anchorage, followed by a three-hour drive or longer train ride to Seward.

Members gathered at the Windsong Lodge on Wednesday, September 5 for registration and the Corps of Engineers-Contractors and 2013 federal dredging program meetings. The Corps districts in the chapter include the Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Walla Walla districts, as well as the Pacific Ocean Division. Michael Tenzca of Alaska, John Hicks of Seattle, Liz Smock of Portland, Jessica Burton-Evans of San Francisco, Jim Fields of the Los Angeles District, and Gary Kamei of the Sacramento District gave reports. Ann Glassley of Walla Walla attended but had no dredging projects to report. Tom Wang of Anchor QEA described a project opportunity coming up in Vancouver, BC to remediate the Esquimault Graving Dock.

An ice breaker that evening was sponsored by Anchor QEA, AMEC, Dredging Contractors of America, Coast & Harbor Engineering, Manson Construction, Moffatt & Nichol, Orion Marine Group and Vosta LMG, and included substantial food and beverages.

Chapter President Allen Churchill welcomed the group on Thursday morning, and Paul Quinn, WEDA chairman, introduced keynote speaker Mead Treadwell, lieutenant governor of Alaska. Treadwell explained his interest in the dredging industry – he is a board member of Ellicott Dredges and college classmate of Peter Bowe, CEO of Ellicott. Both graduated from Yale University in 1978 and Harvard Business School in 1982.

The Alaskan economy depends on a vital marine transportation system, he said. The state has 44,000 miles of coastline – five times that of the rest of the United States. He described the marine highway in southeast Alaska, which provides transportation along the coast in the absence of roads.

“All commerce is marine-dependent,” he said.


After giving a detailed overview of the state’s history, he gave a plug for U.S. Arctic oil exploration, saying that there are six other nations developing oil in that area and that the U.S. will not save it by staying out.

Following Treadwell’s talk, the technical program began, and included five presentations:
• Beneficial Use of Columbia River Channel Maintenance Material for Bank Restoration at Puget Island, Washington, by David Simpson and others from Coast & Harbor Engineering and Wahkiakum County Public Works;
• Cost and Pricing Considerations of Dredging Contractors and How Owners can Lower Dredging Costs, by Jim McNally of Manson Construction Company;
• Overview and Update of the Comprehensive Evaluation of Project Datums (CEPD), by Thomas Slaon of the Corps Alaska District;
• Utilizing Vessel-Based Mobil LiDAR and Bathymetry Survey Techniques for Survey of the USACE Los Angeles District Breakwater, by Todd Mitchell of Fugro and Mo Chang of the Los Angeles District; and
• Strategic Sampling and Analytical Sequencing to Optimize Dredging Options in Areas Challenged by Legacy Contaminants, by Scott Bodensteiner of Weston Solutions.
The group boarded buses for the Seward waterfront, and on a sunny day that followed several stormy ones that had caused worry among the planners, cruised around Resurrection Bay where many orcas were feeding, sea lions were basking on a rock, and sea birds, including puffins, were flying. An hour on Fox Island allowed the group to eat a lunch of salmon and king crab and hear a presentation on the marine wildlife refuge by a park ranger, followed by a cruise back to the terminal.
On Friday morning, the talks resumed, including:
• Applying an Innovative Approach and Methodology to Reduce a Dangerous Shoal at Bullhead Reach within the San Francisco Bay to Stockton Ship Channel in 2011 – a three-pronged presentation by Len Cardoza of Weston Solutions, Jeff Wingfield of the Port of Stockton, and Jessica Burton-Evans of the San Francisco District;
• Results of the Tijuana Estuary Sediment Fate and Transport Project, by Nick Buhbe of Nautilus Environmental;
• Comparison of In-Situ and Post-Dredge Grab Samples in Freshwater and Marine Sediment in Puget Sound and Lower Columbia River Basin, by James McMillan of the Portland District and Michelle Hollis of the Port of Portland, and others;
•Choosing the Appropriate Water Quality Measures for Permit Compliance in Dredge Monitoring Programs, by Shelly Anghera and others of Anchor QEA;
• Summary of Design, Permitting, Implementation and Monitoring at the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, by Wesley Thomas and others of Arcadis U.S.;
• SANDAG Regional Beach Sand Project, by Devon Beach of Moffatt & Nichol; and
• National Dredging Quality Management Program, by Verne Gwin of Corps headquarters.
Following the talks, the board announced that they had chosen Shelly Anghera’s paper on Water Quality Measures for Permit Compliance as the best paper. She was awarded free registration at the WEDA Annual Meeting and complimentary hotel accommodations at the conference hotel in Hawaii in August 2013.

Outgoing president Allen Churchill said that for the five years he has been on the board of the Pacific Chapter, the value of partnership has been made clear to him. The dialog between the Corps, project managers, and consultants made the program possible, he said.

Incoming President Steve Capellino praised Allen Churchill for taking up the slack when Bill Hussin moved to the East Coast during his term as president.

“Allen was actually president for two years,” said Capellino. He announced that Nick Buhbe of Nautilus Environmental, LLC had been chosen as the new board member. He is program chairman for the coming year, and the other officers moved up a step. The new officers are: president, Steve Cappellino of Anchor QEA LP; vice-president, Marcel Hermans, P.E., Port of Portland; treasurer, Jayme Newbigging, Manson Construction Co.; and secretary, Mohammed Chang, P.E., PMP, Corps Los Angeles District.
The program and attendee list will be on the WEDA Web site, under Pacific Chapter, and the treasurer’s report will be available to all members in several months.

The 2013 meeting will be in Los Angeles or Long Beach, sponsored by the environmental offices of those ports.

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