Nearly 500 members of the international dredging community gathered in Orlando Florida for the 18th World Dredging Congress.
Held at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel from May 27 through June 1 the conference comprised 124 technical papers organized by topic and an exhibition with more than 60 displays including an outdoor exhibit. Attendees were from 28 nations highlighted by a delegation of more than 50 individuals from China who booked nine booth spaces to present Chinese dredging companies and manufacturers.
Four vendors exhibited vessels and other equipment in the hotel parking lot including Odom’s Echotrac II survey boat Damen’s amphibious excavator a Dredging Supply Company dredge and SNF’s sediment treatment facility mounted in a shipping container.
Six technical paper awards were presented at the final session on Friday June 1. Sponsored by the Dredging Contractors of America the best paper award went to Kevin Reine of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center and co-authors Douglas Clarke Charles Dickerson and Scott Pickard for their paper “Assessment of Potential Impacts of Bucket Dredging Plumes on Walleye Spawning Habitat in Maumee Bay Ohio”.
The second place award sponsored by the Western Dredging Association (WEDA) was presented to Gert de Vries of Vuyk Engineering Rotterdam for “Modification of Dredges A Crazy Idea or Not?”
The third place award also sponsored by WEDA was given to Tsutomu Inada Kauhiro Tsurugasaki Tsuyoshi Kanazawa Shintaro Baba of Toyo Construction Company Ltd Japan for “Development of the Tidal Flat and Eeelgrass (AMAMO) Field Creation System With the Effective Use of Dredged Cohesive Material”.
WEDA presented best student paper awards to John Henriksen for “Initial Experiments and Data Acquisition for the Model Dredge Carriage” and to Derek Wilson for “Dredging Knowledge Base Expert System”.
The best paper winner received a certificate and $1000. The second place received $500 and third place $250. The winner of the best student paper received $500.
The International Association of Dredging Companies presented their annual paper award to Stéphanie Doorn Groen of DHI Singapore for “Environmental Monitoring and Management of Reclamation Works Close to Sensitive Habitats”.
Each year at selected conferences the IADC grants awards for the best papers written by authors younger than 35 years old. The purpose of the award is “to stimulate the promotion of new ideas and encourage younger men and women in the dredging industry”. The winner receives 1000 euros and a certificate of recognition and the paper may then be published in Terra et Aqua the organization’s technical journal which is distributed gratis throughout the dredging industry.
Organized by the hosting organization Western Dredging Association WODCON XVIII returned to the Buena Vista Palace where WODCON XVII was held in 1989. The conference steering committee was led by WEDA executive director Larry Patella with on-site help from Dr. Robert Randall director of the Texas A&M Center for Dredging Studies their wives Nancy Patella and Barbara Randall and students from Texas A&M. Other members of the steering committee were Dr. Anna Csiti general manager of the Central Dredging Association and Capt. David Padman of the Eastern Dredging Association (EADA).
Ram Mohan led the international technical paper committee which selected papers to be given at the conference established the session topics and schedule and judged the papers. Also on the committee were Neville Burt John Dobson Stephen Garbaciak Dr. Robert Randall Dr. Wim Vlasbom and Shuho Yano. Auxiliary events included a pre-conference visit to the Kennedy Space Center where members toured the Space Shuttle launch facility and lunched with an astronaut. The annual George Watts Open golf tournament named for the Western Dredging Association’s first executive director and guiding force for many years was held on Sunday.
LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD
During the conference Robert Wetta accepted a plaque on behalf of his father which read in part “The Western Dredging Association takes great pleasure in awarding to Thomas J. Wetta III for his more than 30 years of outstanding and unselfish dedicated service and contributions to the dredging industry and the Western Dredging Association the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Thomas (Tommy) John Wetta III because of his superior abilities knowledge determination and dedication to his chosen profession has made unparalleled significant and important contributions to not only the Western Dredging Association but to dredgers throughout the world.”
On Wednesday afternoon the Port of Tampa sponsored a boat tour or the port. The group viewed some of the facilities Port Director and CEO Richard Wainio described at the opening session.
Tampa is the largest port in Florida handling 50 million tons of cargo each year. The port has an unusual amount of land – 5000 acres (2500 hectares). The port has 71 miles of channels with a controlling depth of 43 feet and requires 863000 cubic yards of maintenance dredging every year to maintain the channels especially through Tampa Bay which is only 10 to 12 feet deep.
At the opening session Col. Paul Grosskruger commander of the Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District presented a description and history of the Corps whose first chief was appointed in 1775 and whose ranks included Merriweather Lewis and William Clark. The military academy at West Point was established to fill a lack of engineering schools in the country.
The navigation mission of the Jacksonville District includes the second largest shoreline in the United States 17 deep water ports 28 smaller ports and 16 inland waterway ports. It is the largest civil works district in the Corps of Engineers said Col. Grosskruger.
Also speaking at the plenary opening session was John Adams president of WEDA who welcomed attendees to the meeting. Rewert Werts president of CEDA thanked the authors paper committee and organizers. He pointed out that the conference would focus on environmental issues as well as the technical and operational aspects of dredging to contribute to economic growth and sustainable development.
Following the opening meeting the technical program was split into three or four concurrent sessions for the duration of the conference. Breakfast lunch and coffee were provided in the exhibit area where exhibitors reported lively activity throughout the conference. The Chinese exhibits were especially popular for the knotted silk good luck hangings they presented to all visitors.
On Tuesday morning the International Navigation Association PIANC hosted a plenary breakfast and presentation by Bert Groothuizen of Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors the Netherlands. He described the massive land reclamation works being done around the world especially in the Middle East saying that with the advent of jumbo hopper dredges it has become more economical to create new land than to acquire existing land for development.
Transcripts from two environmental sessions Session 4C and 5B on Tuesday afternoon were not included in the proceedings. These were presented by the WODA Environmental Commission and included “Eight Rules of the Road for planning and managing environmental dredging projects.” The official proceedings of this session are published in this issue of IDR beginning on page 12. The proceedings of the panel Innovation in Dredging Through Collaboration with speakers Elaine Lew Constantijn Dolmans David Padman and Marsha Cohen will be presented in the WEDA Technical Journal.
The WODA Environmental commission met during the conference and shared reports of environmental issues activities problems and solutions connected with dredging around the world. Attending were members of the CEDA Environmental Steering Committee the WEDA Environmental Commission EADA members and other interested people. Many of the members also belong to other environmental groups such as the London (Dumping) Convention and various PIANC working groups. Craig Vogt chair of the WEDA Environmental Committee has made the minutes of this meeting available for all who wish to see them.
On the penultimate evening of the conference WEDA chairman Ancil Taylor passed the WODCON “baton” to EADA chairman John Dobson and President Capt. David Padman whose organization will host the next WODCON to be held in Beijing in 2010. Chen Tun was introduced as the chair of the organizing committee.
Proceedings of WODCON XVIII are published on a compact disk in PFD format and can be obtained from the Western Dredging Association PO Box 5797 Vancouver WA 98668 USA. Phone 360-750-0209; email: WEDA@comcast.net