Great Lakes Dredging Team Meeting Summary
March 30-31, 1999
The seventh meeting of the Great Lakes Dredging Team began with a review by Wayne Warren and Ellen Fisher of the January workshop in New Orleans. That workshop, sponsored by the National Dredging Team and the Coastal States Organization, addressed several issues of relevance to the GLDT: the need for regulatory framework for beneficial use, funding for beneficial use, funding for state CZM programs; coordination between CZM and dredging activities and the need to increase scientific knowledge and awareness of dredging issues. Of particular importance to the GLDT was the issue of the lack of expenditure of federal funds appropriated to the Corps of Engineers for environmental dredging projects. Given the need for remedial dredging in the Great Lakes, GLDT members were concerned that the available funds were not being used. Scott Ireland and Linda Sorn agreed to be part of an ad-hoc group that will try to get a better understanding of why this is happening and how states and localities can better access funding for environmental dredging projects. They will report on their findings at the fall.
The meeting featured a special session on dredging technologies. Norman Francingues of the Corps' Dredging Operations and Environmental Research (DOER) program's Innovative Technologies section provided an overview of the DOER program and discussed the most innovative technologies being examined by DOER, one of which is a telescoping wier. Mr. Francingues highlighted that innovative technologies include software, operating and management techniques, technology transfer, and other mechanisms which facilitate the efficient use of technology. Ray Bergeron of Cable Arm Inc. provided a manufacturer's perspective on the issue by describing the advantages of his company's clamshell bucket over other kinds dredging for minimizing turbidity and related environmental disturbances from dredging operations.
The three GLDT working groups formed at the last meeting reported on progress to date and proposed future work. The Beneficial Use Workgroup had developed three recommendations for the team:
The team approved all three recommendations with some fine-tuning. Concerning the first recommendation, the team clarified that advocacy efforts could be directed at Congress, a regional initiative, or direct appeals to EPA and the Corps. For the second recommendation, the team acknowledged the Great Lakes Commission's advocacy efforts already underway, so no further specific actions were requested at this time. It was agreed that recommendation three was partially being addressed through existing public outreach initiatives, namely the Great Lakes dredging brochure and video under development by GLDT staff. GLDT members agreed to work with staff to ensure beneficial use receives adequate attention in the brochure and video.
Jan Miller offered to prepare a white paper on beneficial use that will outline the recent rulemaking changes in TSCA and RCRA and their potential impacts on beneficial use. He plans to send it out to team members prior to the fall GLDT meeting.
Staff discussed a Great Lakes Commission preproposal to GLNPO (Attachment A) that would address recommendations one and three. The preproposal calls for establishing a regional beneficial use task force that would convene the eight Great Lakes States and relevant federal interests to engage in a process for developing national guidance/criteria for beneficial use. It also calls for developing a brochure specifically on beneficial use in the Great Lakes basin that would highlight ongoing and completed beneficial use projects, their processes and outcomes. The team agreed to support the proposal. The team would serve as an advisory committee to the beneficial use task force. (Note: since the meeting, GLNPO has requested a full proposal from the Great Lakes Commission for this project.)
The DMMP Process Workgroup reported on attempts to clarify and simplify the DMMP process using the flow chart developed by the team. Though no steps were eliminated, four recommendations were made to improve the process:
The Watershed Planning Workgroup provided an outline for including watershed analyses in DMMPs, which included four goals and a process of assessment and analysis to achieve those goals. (Attachment C.) Team members noted that several initiatives were underway regionally and nationally that were attempting to tackle the issue of integrating watershed management and the DMMP process. The team requested that the workgroup members become more active and develop a narrative that describes practical steps on how to integrate watershed planning with DMMPs and consider a demonstration project.
The Public Outreach Workgroup reported progress on several fronts, including the development of a draft brochure on Great Lakes dredging, a Great Lakes dredging video, and recent additions to the GLDT web site. Staff indicated that the brochure would be final by mid-summer and the target for completion of the video would be the fall. The team agreed to add dredging case studies to the web site and that such case studies should be circulated among relevant state and local stakeholders prior to being published. Staff reported on results of a survey about the web site which was sent to local advocates. Key results from the survey indicated that most people have Internet access and regularly use the Internet. Respondents listed a range of priority issues, including beneficial use, testing criteria, AOC remediation, local financing/cost minimization, state/federal regulatory issues and CDFs (siting and monitoring). Suggested improvements for the web site included providing direct links to policies and regulations that govern dredging operations; putting the GLDT web site address on all GLDT correspondence/publications (http://www.glc.org/dredging/) and providing more information about local dredging issues and activities.
Jan Miller provided the team with an update on WRDA'99 with attention to provisions relevant to the Great Lakes and GLDT priorities. Miller provided an overview of the Great Lakes Dredged Material Testing and Evaluation Manual, which is available via the GLDT web site. He also described existing beneficial use authorities for the Corps under WRDA.
The meeting closed with a special session on the Great Lakes Sediment Management Modeling Program, which presented case studies on modeling efforts underway in the Maumee, the Nemadji and Saginaw Rivers. FY99 funding will allow modeling efforts to begin for the Buffalo, Milwaukee and Grand Calumet Rivers. GLDT members emphasized the need for application of the modeling results to reduce sediment loadings and ultimately dredging needs in bays, ports and harbors.
Last Modified: November 04, 2002
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