WODA and CEDA develop dredging monitoring rules

Monitoring is needed during dredging operations. Credit: IADC
Monitoring is needed during dredging operations. Credit: IADC

The 1972 International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, is one of the first global conventions to protect the marine environment from human activities. It has been in force since 1975 and is the most widely applicable international regulatory instrument.

Some 90 states are parties to this convention. In 1996, the London Protocol was agreed to further modernise the convention and, eventually, replace it. Currently, there are about 50 parties to the protocol.

The official observer at the London Convention and its Protocol is the World Organisation of Dredging Associations (WODA). The Central Dredging Association (CEDA) often undertakes this work on behalf of WODA and actively participates in meetings and relevant working groups, to provide expert advice and help shape policy development. CEDA has a long history of working with the London Convention and its Protocol.

Meetings in March
Charlotte Clarke, advisor for sustainable maritime management at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) represented WODA/CEDA at the 42nd meeting of the Scientific Groups of the London Convention, as well as the 13th meeting of the London Protocol in Vancouver, Canada, from 18 to 22 March 2019. The meeting was attended by experts responsible for the protection of the marine environment representing more than 30 countries from all over the world, as well as non-governmental observers, among them WODA/CEDA. The one-week agenda of the scientific groups meetings traditionally includes the Science Day, which is always dedicated to a particular topic, and this year’s topic was monitoring.

Dr Mark Lee, member of the joint CEDA and International Association of Dredging Contractors (IADC) editorial board for the recently published CEDA-IADC book Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure, and lead author of the chapter on monitoring, was one of the presenters during the day. In his presentation entitled Pointers on Practical and Achievable Monitoring of Dredging from Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure and Beyond!, he talked about key principles for designing monitoring for dredging. This includes: why not losing sight of the science is essential for practical and achievable monitoring; what is achievable in modern monitoring of dredging; and what is likely to constitute practical and achievable monitoring of dredging in the near future.

“Dredging and projects involving dredging can, and do, deliver positive and negative impacts to the marine environment. Monitoring is fundamental to measuring impacts but, equally importantly, to managing dredging projects so that impacts are consistent with the project planning and licencing. High-quality monitoring is therefore essential for dredging to play its part in sustainable infrastructure development,” said Dr Lee.

He added, “The marine environment is a hostile place for undertaking monitoring and measurement, one might well question why we put sensitive electronic equipment into such environments and expect to get it, and data, back – but we do. Given this hostility, ensuring that monitoring is practical and achievable matters a great deal. Technological developments have changed the monitoring and management of dredging projects drastically in the last 10–15 years and those changes are ongoing – we live in very interesting and dynamic times.”

Dr Lee concluded his presentation by giving a complimentary copy of Dredging for Sustainable Indrastucture to Linda Porebski, the chair of the London Convention Scientific Group, Environment Canada.

For an in-depth discussion on monitoring, consult the book Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure.