SAN PEDRO, Calif. — Addressing the challenges facing coastal and inland waterways, senior leaders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers participated in the first in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic with the California Marine Affairs and Navigation Conference of the May 18 to 20 in San Pedro.
CMANC is a consortium of California ports, harbors, and maritime interest groups with the goal of maximizing California’s maritime benefits by advocating for the maintenance and improvement of ports, harbors, and navigation projects from California. To do this, he works with the California legislature and congressional delegation to ensure that California’s maritime interests are supported by the federal and state government to the fullest extent possible.
“For more than 60 years, CMANC, which is the local, non-federal sponsor in California for navigation projects – as well as the dredging contractors and engineering companies that support California’s navigation mission – have worked with the Corps in order to achieve this,” said James Haussner, executive director of CMANC. “We certainly appreciate the engineering expertise and federal funding that is flowing through the Corps, so that California can move 40% of containerized cargo currently to the United States, as well as strong recreational and commercial fisheries.”
The Corps was represented by Major General William “Butch” Graham, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations; Colonel Antionette Gant, commander of the South Pacific Division; Los Angeles District Commander Col. Julie Balten; and San Francisco District Commander Lt. Col. Kevin Arnett. In addition, Jim Fields and Al Paniccia, Navigation Program Managers for LA and San Francisco Districts, respectively, and Dr. Todd Bridges, Corps Principal Investigator, made presentations.
Balten outlined projects underway within California’s 840-mile coastline with updates from the LA District on dam safety; environmental projects, such as the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Project; and construction projects, adding that the LA district has the highest number of permit applications of any district in the country and has the ability to accept and spend funds from non-federal sponsors to expedite the review of applications. of permits.
“Section 214 (of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000) allows non-federal public entities to enter into funding agreements with the Corps that we can use to expedite their projects,” Balten explained, adding that the San Pedro Breakwater was the very first construction project built by the District of Los Angeles in 1902.
For Arnett and the District of San Francisco, CMANC is “a great voice and a collector-aggregator of some of the interests that are important for us to consider as we prepare to deliver our navigational missions – establishing a forum, helping to organize and collect voices and issues,” Arnett said. “It’s a great way to ensure we have an effective way to really understand what we’re doing from the perspective of other stakeholders, whether it’s contractors or the Corps. It’s a great place and a great group.
Regarding the Corps’ work on environmental issues, Bridges described CMANC as a forum for “unlimited potential for the shipping industry to support nature and for nature to support the shipping industry.” He asked questions at the conference about how to design with nature and what was needed for operations.
“What science do we need to support innovation in engineering and operations to bring navigational infrastructure closer to nature and nature-based solutions?” Bridges asked. “That’s why I’m here.
On May 20, Suzy Watkins, Harbor Manager for the Port of San Luis and current CMANC President, introduced Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, telling attendees how Connor took the time to join them despite his busy schedule and would be returning to Washington immediately after speaking.
“The most important thing we should know about him is that he’s a man who keeps his promises,” Watkins said.
Connor spoke about the mutual interests of the Corps and CMANC, such as climate resilience and smart infrastructure. In April, on his 10th port visit as Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), he met with President Joe Biden in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where the corps had completed an expansion project that included planned maintenance costs using appropriate dollars, as well as bipartisan money for infrastructure. As he spoke, he said his deputy and Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, were in Norfolk, Va., to celebrate a deepening/broadening partnership agreement. being developed between the Corps and the Port of Virginia.
“The Navigation Area and What We Do – inland waterways and coasts – is the first in the Army Corps of Engineers’ portfolio of civil engineering missions, beginning in 1824. It holds a special and important place for this what the Army Corps of Engineers does,” Connor said.
The second component of the portfolio, Connor said, is to build innovative climate-resilient infrastructure to protect communities and ecosystems, adding that the Corps integrates climate information and the need to design with this in mind at the future in its construction activities.
“I know you are all doing this in the investment in the ports themselves, even as we carry out the deepening and widening projects,” he said. “I also think the growth we’re seeing and the emphasis we continue to see in the beneficial use of dredged material has a role in this overall resilience strategy.”
The use of dredged material is not only good for the environment, Connor said, but it also makes sense when it takes the form of rebuilding barrier islands, coastal marshes and restoring wetlands. beaches.
“The level of resources is unprecedented and very exciting, and we’re looking to do good things with that,” he said, explaining that even in just the investment law navigation portfolio and the employment in infrastructure, the Corps has funding for coastal shipping projects and the inland waterways system. On the coast, 10 deepening and widening projects have already been financed to date.
Safe navigation is critical to the nation’s economy, and the partnership between the Corps and CMANC has led to safer California waterways, according to Fields, who is also a section chief at the LA District Navigation Branch.
“CMANC is a great collaborative team working together to acquire future funding for California projects,” he said.
Although he was not scheduled to speak at CMANC, Graham, the senior Corps of Engineers officer in attendance, provided his final comments to attendees.
Watkins also added that one of the strengths of CMANC is that it is a successful partnership between local and federal agencies, other organizations and private sector providers.
“We all work closely together and have identified our common goals – infrastructure, environmental and financial responsibility,” Watkins said. “We’re able to collaborate and champion all of these goals, and we have a great working relationship and enjoy each other’s company.”
|Date posted:||25.05.2022 12:01|
|Location:||SAN PEDRO, CA, USA|
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