The Waterways Journal
13 October 2014
By Carlo J. Salzano, WJ Washington Correspondent
Washington, D.C. - Amy W. Larson, president of the National
Waterways Conference, has submitted comments in response to four
webinars held by the Army Corps of Engineers to receive input
while it develops guidance to implement the Water Resources Reform
and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA).
The webinars, held August 13, 27, September 10 and September 24,
and Larson’s comments, focused on deauthorizations and backlog
prevention; funding provisions in the new law; dam and levee
safety and regulatory issues, and non-federal implementation of
studies and projects.
Addressing the subject matter taken up at the first webinar,
Larson urged the Corps not to use the same metrics when developing
deauthorization recommendations that it uses in developing its
year-to-year operation and maintenance requests.
“Current funding metrics serve to pit one waterway against
another, leading to bias against smaller systems, ignoring the
economic activity associated with the smaller systems,” Larson
said. “This type of approach fails to take into consideration
whether a system can produce economic benefits that outweigh
annual funding needs.”
In a discussion of alternative funding, Larson encouraged the
secretary of the Army to move forward “in an expeditious manner to
establish the pilot program to allow the acceptance of funds
contributed by non-federal interests to increase the hours of lock
operations along the waterways. Many local communities have been
detrimentally impacted by the reduction of service hours at locks
and seek to use this new authority to keep their locks open for
recreational boating and fishing. Given the significant economic
importance of such activities, we encourage prompt implementation
of this authority.”
Addressing the third webinar, which was devoted to levee and dam
safety, and regulation, Larson said that development of levee
safety guidelines “must integrate valid risk reduction measures
put in place by local governments and which further the
longstanding federal commitment to cost-benefit analysis as a
basis for evaluating policy changes and their impact to national
well-being, clear statements must be made about anticipated
economic and financial implications associated with guideline
promulgation and implementation.”
Furthermore, Larson urged the use of “an open and transparent
process to develop the hazard potential classification system and
to inform how the levee safety action classification will be
Finally, Larson said the NWC supports the WRRDA provision designed
to “enhance the role of the non-federal sponsor in project
development and encourages the Corps to implement this provision
in accordance with the clear congressional intent to expand the
role of non-federal entities in project delivery.”
Navigation Rules Handbook
The National Maritime Center has announced that the Coast Guard
has published the Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook,
replacing the former Navigation Rules International and inland.
The handbook includes the International Regulations for Prevention
of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) and the Inland Navigation Rules.
Other laws and regulations pertinent for mariners and waterway
users are also included (e.g., Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Act
and Vessel Traffic Services).
ALCOAST 411-14 introduces the handbook and discusses issues such
as requirements to carry.
The navigation rules and additional information regarding the new
handbook can be found online at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Navigation
Center website, www.navcen.uscg.gov, by selecting “Nav Rules” from
the upper navigation bar.
‘Waters’ Definition Comment Period
The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection
Agency have extended—from October 20 to November 14—the comment
period for the proposed rule “Definition of ‘Waters of the United
States’ Under the Clean Water Act” published on April 21 (WJ, May
The comment period was extended in response to stakeholder
requests for an extension and to allow comments on new supporting
For more information, contact Donna Downing at 202, 566-2428 or
Stacey Jensen at 202, 761-5856.
Panama Canal Tonnage
The Panama Canal registered 326.8 million Panama
Canal/Universal Measurement System tons of cargo during the fiscal
year that ended September 30. The year’s total was 2 percent
higher than the 320.6 million PC/UMS tons registered in fiscal
The Panama Canal Authority said the increase was primarily driven
by the bulk carrier segment that registered an 18 percent
increase, or 86 million tons, compared with 73 million tons in FY
Other top market segments during the just-concluded fiscal year
included car carriers with 46 million tons and gas carriers with 6
million tons, which increased 7 percent and 24 percent,
respectively, the authority said.
CG/NOAA Fleet Plan
The Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) signed a Fleet Plan and Officer Exchange
memorandum of understanding (MOU) October 8.
The fleet plan supplements the Cooperative Maritime Strategy (CMS)
that was signed in February 2013 and establishes a course of
action to guide cooperation in the operation and maintenance of
marine and navigation platforms. The officer exchange MOU supports
both the CMS and the fleet plan by allowing the exchange of
officer personnel for the purpose of sharing professional
knowledge, expertise, doctrine, and for the professional
development of officers.
“The MOU builds on the long history of cooperation between NOAA
and the Coast Guard,” said Coast Guard Vice Adm. Charles Michel,
deputy commandant for operations.
“These important agreements provide a framework for leveraging out
respective resources and enhancing collaboration where we have
common interests regarding personnel, fleet operations, research
and development,” said NOAA Vice Adm. Michael Devany, deputy under
secretary for operations. Michel and Devany signed the joint
letter of promulgation.
Champion Of Maritime
The American Maritime Partnership (AMP) has named Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky a “Champion of
Maritime” for “consistently supporting the critical role the
domestic maritime industry and the Jones Act play in America’s
national, economic and homeland security.”
The AMP said the Republican senator’s home state ranks fifth in
the nation in per capita domestic maritime jobs, according to a
recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Transportation
Institute. Furthermore, AMP said, Kentucky’s maritime industry
transports more that 43.8 million tons of water cargo each year.
“Sen. McConnell knows first-hand the important role American
maritime and our inland waterways play in moving freight into and
out of our nation’s heartland,” said AMP Chairman Thomas
Allegretti, president and chief executive officer of the American
The Coast Guard has invited interested parties to apply for
membership on the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee by
The Coast Guard said it would consider applications to fill six
positions that expire or will become vacant June 1, 2015.
For more information, contact Davis J. Breyer at 202, 372-1445.
Boating Safety Committee
The Coast Guard said October 7 that the National Boating Safety
Advisory Committee plans to meet November 6, when it may recommend
the “areas of interest” that should be the focus of Coast Guard
boating safety grants to nonprofit organizations in Fiscal Year
The location of the meeting was not publicly disclosed because
it’s for members only (WJ, October 13).