“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rebuilt the electric power grid in Iraq” Col. Mark S. Held told Western Dredging Association members in July.
Col. Held was the first commander of the Iraq Reconstruction Office in Baghdad where he spent four months in 2003. He spoke at the main luncheon of the 24th Annual meeting of the Western Dredging Association in Orlando Florida July 6 through 9.
“The war didn’t destroy the infrastructure; Sadam Hussein and his cronies destroyed the infrastructure said Col Held. The Corps of Engineers found no spare parts and no distribution system. There were three central control rooms for the entire country all of which had been burned down by former regime he said. “There are 80 new palaces one to five years old” he said.
“We are making a concerted effort to share the power over the region. Baghdad doesn’t get it all” he said. There is now more consistent power than before the war he said.
There are 600 Corps employees in Iraq he said. “It’s dangerous but people still volunteer to go. Starting in September 400 more volunteers from the Corps will go to Iraq” said Col. Held.
The Corps is a senior advisory to Ministry of Water Resources projects in Iraq said Col Held. They found a leak in Mosul dam due to inferior construction. Also the Hussein regime had drained 2000 square miles of marshes leaving a muddy salt-laden hole.
“This is the worst act of eco-terrorism in the history of the country” said Col. Held. “It destroyed an entire way of life. Our project is to bring the marshes back to life” he said. “The soldiers over there are doing their part; they are truly a band of brothers” he said.
Speaking of the domestic Corps mission he said “General (Carl) Strock (chief of Engineers) understands the army and can talk to the people in the Pentagon. The Corps of Engineers is not here to beat you down on price. Be patient with us; be partners” said Col. Held who was appointed commander and district engineer of the Savannah District on May 27 2004.
The WEDA meeting was held in conjunction with the 36th Annual Texas A&M Dredging seminar. Approximately 250 people attended the event.
Tom Wang was chosen WEDA Dredger of the Year. He was cited ad a “dedicated and loyal member of WEDA” and guiding force in the Pacific Chapter. As an engineer with Anchor Environmental he was instrumental in the rehabilitation of the Sitcum Waterway in Seattle a major dredging and rehabilitation project. He was unable to attend the meeting of WEDA because of the birth of his son Kellen who was born four weeks premature on June 8.
“It was an honor to receive the award” he told IDR. “There are so many folk that are very deserving. This was a great surprise and I hope to live up to it and continue to contribute to the dredging industry” he said.
Dr. Robert Engler was elected as a new board member at large of the organization and three new board members were elected: Paul Quinn of Baltimore Dredges Jim Rausch of the Dredging Contractors of America Tom Wang of Anchor Environmental and Bill Hanson of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company.
A newly-instituted Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Robert Hopman who has been involved in the organization for more than three decades was the organization’s first president and has not missed a WEDA meeting since 1972. His dredging career spanned the years 1967 to 1997 in the Corps of Engineers and then in private industry after his retirement. Greg Hartman accepted the award on his behalf as Hopman was recovering from serious surgery at his home in Oregon.
Ancil Taylor WEDA president reported that the William R. Murden scholarship fund is in a healthy state and that the organization’s newsletter edited by Executive Director Lawrence Patella and the technical Journal Dredging Engineering edited by Ram Mohan continue to be published regularly. The first developmental meeting for the dredging safety committee has been held said Taylor.
He praised Larry and Nancy Patella for doing all the work that goes into organizing an annual meeting stating that much work goes on behind the scenes that is not obvious.
On Thursday July 8 a special session was held by ACCORD (Advice and Consultation Committee on Re-suspension by Dredging).
The committee was formed by representatives of HR Wallingford and Dredging Research Limited of the U.K. the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) the Netherlands Rijkswaterstaat and the Dutch consortium of dredging contractors (VBKO).
Their concern is that a dredging loss/re-suspension model does not exist and their aim is to facilitate sharing data to avoid duplication of efforts in creating a source model. They also seek to provide a forum for collaboration in obtaining new data for source model calibration.
In 2003 HR Wallingford and Dredging Research Limited published sampling protocols for obtaining measurements useful to source model calibration after international input and review.
The ACCORD group seeks input and participation from government agencies ports and harbors dredging contractors consulting engineers and academia for quantifying sediment re-suspension caused by dredging and in the context of ship and storm-generated re-suspension.
Organizations or individuals can provide input to Thomas Borrowman at ERDC email@example.com 601-634-4048; or Neville Burt at HR Wallingford firstname.lastname@example.org; +44-1-491-822348.
The 2005 meeting will be held June 18 through 23 at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Orleans.