On Tuesday evening May 29 John Paul Woodley assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works addressed the WODCON attendees prior to a special dinner.
He stressed the importance of international trade in maintaining the stability of the nation stating that though the citizens of the United States know many of the goods they buy are from overseas most don’t know how they got here.
“Many people think they came in by airplane while in reality only a small amount of goods arrive that way” he said.
We need to let people know the importance of international trade and to stress the importance of deep draft navigation on the health of that trade he said.
“Few U.S. ports are able to handle these new large ships” he said.
“As you discuss the economic benefits of dredging I would like to enlist your support in the environmental efforts. The Corps of Engineers has designated dredged material as a resource” he said.
He described a project the Corps is doing in Oakland in conjunction with dredging the 50-foot channels using the dredged material at a former airfield to return the site to a wetland.
“There is a great potential to used dredged material in these restoration areas” he said.
He praised the dredging industry for its response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Mississippi River was closed from Natchez to the Gulf of Mexico but was opened for 12-foot navigation the day after the hurricane to 30 feet three days later and to 35 feet four days later. By September 30th not even a month after the catastrophe the river was open to unrestricted navigation he said.
This is a challenge to you all you must be ready at all times to help restore navigation in critical ports and to work together to restore navigation after catastrophic events he said.
He encouraged all to support PIANC the International Navigation Association and ended with the message to all the international attendees “Welcome to the United States.”