Dredging 2012 Looked at 40 Years of Innovation
PHOTOS AND STORY BY ANNA TOWNSHEND
Dredging 2012 the fourth in a series of international conferences held every ten years gathered in San Diego California on October 22 through 25. The conference was a look back at 40 years of dredging and environmental innovation and the future of the industry.
The U.S. Section of PIANC (the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Institute for Coasts Oceans Ports and Rivers (COPRI) co-sponsored the event which was well attended. Around 500 attendees from more than 25 countries joined more than 50 exhibitors. The event also included approximately 25 sponsors 10 cooperating associations and six media partners.
All this was brought together by the work of a technical steering committee led by PIANC Commissioner Robert Engler Ph.D. who served as conference chair; Kelly Barnes PIANC USA conference lead; and Anne Can secretary of the U.S. Section of PIANC. Corps districts the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and Institute for Water Resources (IWR) subject matter experts delivered informative and relevant presentations and helped attract top presenters from other agencies the private sector and other countries.
The opening plenary session on Tuesday morning Oct. 23 welcomed keynote speaker PIANC USA Chair the Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy who is Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. Attendees gathered in a large pavilion outside the exhibit hall to hear Darcy speak about administrative initiatives for ports and navigation and the necessity of maintaining that infrastructure.
Darcy who was appointed by President Obama on Aug. 11 2009 establishes policy direction and provides supervision of the Department of the Army functions relating to all aspects of the Corps’ Civil Works program. Her responsibilities include programs for the conservation and development of the nation’s water and wetland resources flood control navigation and shore protection.
Dr. Robert Engler Dr. Billy Edge Eric Van den Eede of CEDA and Louis Van Schel PIANC secretary general also spoke briefly. Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh PIANC USA president and deputy commanding general for Civil and Emergency Operations introduced keynote speaker Secretary Darcy. (See notes on her talk in this issue on pp. 16.)
For the remainder of the conference attendees chose from more than 200 technical presentations on a wide range of navigation and dredging related topics. The rooms filled quickly as attendees chose from 13 total technical tracks presented five at a time during each hour-and-a-half session.
PIANC said the four pre-conference courses and technical sessions on Dredge Operator Basics 4Rs (resuspension release residuals risk) Transformative Safety for the Safety Professional and Site Characterization Survey Sampling Limitations were also well attended with many standing-room only.
To kick off the conference young professionals 40 years old and younger gathered on Monday evening October 22 for a reception and happy hour. Around 130 young professionals attended the conference many of whom were recruited and mentored by Kelly Barnes and Laura Hermann IWR. Following the mingling poolside the younger group joined the other attendees for the welcome reception in the exhibit hall at the Grande Ballroom for more cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Tuesday evening Oct. 23 the Academy of Coastal Ocean Port and Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE) inducted its newest certified diplomats including a champagne toast. New inductees William Hanson Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company; Dr. Robert Engler Moffatt & Nichol; Edmond Russo USACE ERDC; E. Dan Allen Moffatt & Nichol; and Louis Van Schel PIANC Secretary General. On hand to welcome them were ACOPNE board members Kelly Barnes USACE; Michael Ports and Doug Thiessen Port of Long Beach. Billy Edge Ph.D. P.E. D.CE. received a service award for his time working on the ACOPNE board and as its first president.
The technical sessions were organized around different technical tracks: Environmental Dredging (Remediation/Restoration); Dredged Material Management; Dredging Contractors and Management Innovations; Working with Nature; Regulatory Challenges and Solutions; Integrating Dredged Material Reuse and Environmental Restoration; State of Engineering Practice; Sustainable Sediment Management; Ports/Navigation Case Studies; Safety; Current Engineering Dredging Research; Site Characterization and Survey; and Sediment Resuspension/Residuals. Presentations and abstracts will be available on the US Section PIANC Web site.
After the success of this year’s Dredging 2012 PIANC USA and ASCE COPRI hope to increase the frequency of the event from once a decade to every three years tentatively looking at the next conference for 2015.
Prior to the conference USACE held numerous events including the execution and planning of key strategic external engagements. Meetings were held Oct. 23-24 between USACE and the Netherlands Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) to review progress and the mutual accomplishments made through the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between USACE and RWS. The USACE delegation was led by Paul Bourget Ph.D. and his replacement Joe Manous Ph.D. Dutch participants included the technical leads from RWS and other Dutch institutions along with a brief discussion with RWS Director General Jan Hendrick Dronkers. The two organizations discussed many but two significant collaborations for 2013 including the specifics of a one-year detail of an RWS representative to the Corp’s Risk Management Center in Golden Colorado starting February 2013 and the completion of a book on the comparative history of the unique evolutions of RWS and USACE in response to their respective nations’ needs planned for a 2013 release.
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) held its Marine Board Safe Navigation in the Arctic Workshop and Marine Board Fall Meeting. Kevin Knight IWR joined more than 100 representatives from federal state and local agencies academia and the U.S. shipping industry to attend the two-day workshop addressing topics vital to providing navigation safety in the Arctic waters. Keynote speakers included Mead Treadwell lieutenant governor of Alaska and Vice Admiral Thomas Ostebo U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Commander.
At the Marine Board Fall meeting the board discussed a proposed study by TRB “Reinvesting in Inland Waterways: What Policy Makers Need to Know.” The study will address the transportation role and importance of the federally funded Inland Waterway System (IWS); its costs and benefits; the estimated levels of investment required to achieve a state of good repair and options for funding; and who should pay for the required investment.
IWR representatives supported the Corps South Pacific Division (SPD) at the California Marine Affairs & Navigation (C-MANC) Conference on October 11 and 12 in Oakland California where California marine ports and supporting industry organizations discussed pressing issues and developed strategies to address them. Dave Penick of IWR spoke on USACE’s national navigation-related data that is collected and managed on an enterprise basis including data on lock performance dredging quantities and costs port and dock infrastructure vessel movements in ports and waterways and foreign and domestic waterborne cargo movements. Anne Sturm Navigation and Coastal Business Line Manager for SPD presented the methods and tools the Division uses to analyze the enterprise navigation data.
Reporting on other USACE priorities Justin Pummel of IWR supported Drew Benziger Pacific Ocean Division chief of Readiness and Contingency Operations and participated in the first Interim Progress Review (IPR) of the China Disaster Management Exchange. The event being held by the U.S. Army Pacific and the Peoples Liberation Army of China is scheduled for November 25 through December 2 in Beijing Kunming and Chengdu.
On October 24 IWR and Corps Headquarters representatives met with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) The Nature Conservancy The Conservation Fund ASCE The Water Institute of the Gulf and the Virginia Institute for Marine Science to review the collaborative intergovernmental 2013 work plan for the Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering (SAGE) initiative. SAGE aims to promote the development and application of hybrid engineering that links “soft” ecosystem approaches with “hard” infrastructure approaches to enhance the resiliency of coastal communities and reduce risks from threats.
On October 15 through 19 in New Orleans Patrick O’Brien ERDC-EL and Will Veatch New Orleans District (MVN) on detail to the IWR Adaption to Climate Change team provided SME with knowledge on sea-level change to the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Mississippi River Delta Management Study (MRDM) Re-Scoping Charette.
On October 12 and 13 Joe Manous Ph.D. of IWR chair of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) College Outreach Committee lead a SAME workshop for SAME Student Chapter faculty advisors and SAME Post Mentors focused on relating military engineering to college students through chapter and post activities and mentoring by STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.)
Reporting on the status of USACE projects Kate White Ph.D. of IWR participated in a teleconference on October 8 to resolve review comments for the Water Sector chapter of the National Climate Assessment (NCA). The draft National Climate Assessment is scheduled for release to the public in December.
Dr. White also led a Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Subcommittee (AAS) meeting on October 10 which focused on climate change adaptation talking points and communication strategy. James Dalton chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Steering Committee together with IWR Climate Adaptation PDT members Kate White and Jeff Arnold Ph.D. provided a quarterly briefing on climate change activities to Jo-Ellen Darcy. Topics covered included the soon-to-be published joint report on Short-Term Water Management Decisions – User Needs for Improved Climate Weather and Hydrologic Information by USACE Reclamation and NOAA National Weather Service.
On October 16 Dave Raff Ph.D. of IWR and Chief E&C James Dalton with Reclamation Director Technical Resources Michael Gabaldon provided a joint presentation on USACE-Reclamation collaboration in the area of climate change.